France confirms death of al-Qaeda's Abou Zeid

  • A senior al-Qaeda militant Abdelhamid Abou Zeid has been killed in fighting in Mali, the French presidency confirmed on Saturday.

    Abou Zeid, believed to be in his 40s, is the second-in-command of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

    According to French newspaper Le Monde, DNA samples had made it possible to confirm Abou Zeid’s identity.

    Last month, the Chadian army fighting alongside French forces reported to have killed Abou Zeid during clashes in the remote northern region.

    Algerian security services took DNA samples from two of Abou Zeid's relatives in order to determine the body is his.

    Abou Zeid was last seen in public in the Malian cities of Timbuktu and Gao, which were seized by Islamist groups last year.

    The Algerian native is also believed to be responsible for kidnapping dozens of Westerners in the region in recent years and killing at least two of them.