Leader of terrorist group, Al-Qaeda's North Africa affiliate, has been killed in a French military operation following a seven-year hunt, the country's defence minister has announced.

Florence Parly has announced that Abdelmalek Droukdel and members of his inner circle were killed on Thursday during the operation in Mali where thousands of French troops have been deployed to tackle jihadist groups in the area, Daily Mail UK, reports.  Abdelmalek Droukdel (pictured) was the leader of Al-Qaeda's north Africa affiliate, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM

The operation to kill Droukdel reportedly involved helicopters and ground troops, who 'neutralised' a small group of men before formally identifying the leader's body near the North-Western Mali town of Tessalitm.

A senior Islamic State group commander was also captured in an operation in May, she added. 

Parly said the operations had dealt 'severe blows to the terrorist groups'.

Droukdel was the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb known as AQIM.


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