DNA tests to confirm death of al-Qaeda chief in Algeria

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An Algerian newspaper reported the country’s authority has carried out DNA tests to confirm the reported death of al-Qaeda’s senior figure fighting in the northeastern of Mali.

‘The security services are comparing DNA taken from two close relatives of Abu Zeid with samples taken from the remains of a body supplied by French forces” battling Islamists in Mali, the newspaper stated.

Meanwhile, French government spokeswoman, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, said they are still awaiting the death confirmation al –Qaeda chief in Morocco, Abdelhamid Abu Zeid.

“Our forces are engaged in operations which are extremely tough... I think we should be extremely cautious" with such reports, Vallaud-Belkacem told France 2 television.

A close source to French President François Hollande said it was up to the Mali authorities. "We are on Malian territory. It's up to them to identify persons targeted in military operations," the source said.

On Thursday, Algeria's independent Ennahar TV reported that Abu Zeid, 46, whose real name is Mohamed Ghedir, had been killed in northern Mali along with 40 other Islamists.

An Algiers court last year sentenced him in absentia to life in prison for having formed an international armed group implicated in the kidnapping of foreign tourists in 2003.

Five other members of his family were jailed for 10 years each.