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France says Mali operation has killed terror chiefs

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 6 Mar 2013 16:59 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Corrects to show Hollande did not specify number of "terrorist leaders" killed)

WARSAW, March 6 (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday that a military campaign against Islamist rebels in Mali had killed "terrorist leaders", without clarifying whether he was referring to two al Qaeda commanders reported dead last week.

"We have launched an offensive in two directions, the first in the Ifoghas mountain range, and there we have had successes that will be further confirmed in the coming days, including the killing of terrorist leaders," Hollande told a news conference in Warsaw where he was attending a regional leaders event.

Chad has said that its soldiers, fighting alongside the French, have killed two top commanders from al Qaeda's north African wing, Abdelhamid Abou Zeid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, but Paris has so far said it could not confirm the reports. (Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Writing by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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