Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Paris: Bah ag Moussa, a military leader of Al Qaeda's North Africa wing, in Mali was killed on Friday by French forces, announced French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly.

"This is a major success in the fight against terrorism that France is leading with its partners in the Sahel," Xinhua news agency quoted Parly as saying.

"A historic figure of the jihadi movement in the Sahel, Bah ag Moussa is considered responsible for several attacks against Malian and international forces," she added in a statement.

Moussa, a military leader of the Rally for the Victory of Islam and Muslims, an Al Qaeda wing operating in the Sahel region, was killed on Tuesday during an operation involving significant intelligence resources, ground troops and helicopters, according to the Defence Ministry.

Earlier on November 3, the defence minister said that the country's military forces fighting Islamic extremists in West Africa “put away” more than 50 jihadists in an operation in Mali.

The defence minister tweeted, the French force in the region, called Barkhane, also confiscated weapons and equipment from the fighters in the operation last Friday, which she said “shows once again that terrorist groups cannot act with impunity”. Parly is currently visiting Mali’s capital Bamako, where she met with the head of the transitional government.

As reported by news agency AP, Islamic extremist rebels were forced from power in northern Mali after a 2013 special military operation to curb insurgency in the Sahel region, but regrouped in the desert and now launch frequent attacks on the Malian army and its allies.

Earlier on October 17, a history teacher who opened a discussion with students on caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad was decapitated in a French street following which the police shot-dead the suspected killer. A police official said the suspect, armed with a knife and an airsoft gun was shot to death by police about 600 meters (yards) from where the male teacher was killed.

In a similar incident on October 29, three people were killed and several others got injured after a knife attack inside a cathedral in Nice, France.

Christian Estrosi, the Mayor of Nice, said the attacker had repeated “Allahu Akbar” several times while he was being arrested and handcuffed by police.

The incident took place after the horrific killing of 47-year-old teacher, Samuel Paty, by a refugee Islamist terrorist after cartoons of Prophet Mohammed were shown by Paty to his students in a class on freedom of speech.

French President Emmanuel Macron called the beheading of the teacher an “Islamist terrorist attack”, and pledged quick and firm action by his government to combat extremism.

(Nitesh Kumar Sahoo With Agency Inputs)

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