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France says ‘plausible’ al-Qaeda killed journalists in Mali

Published: Updated:

France said on Thursday that al-Qaeda’s north African branch had likely killed two French journalists in Mali at the weekend as the group had earlier claimed, Agence France-Presse reported.

“We’re in the process of verifying it, but it seems plausible,” AFP quoted French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius during an interview with French television.

He was referring to the claim over the murders of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon in the flashpoint northeastern town of Kidal on Saturday.

On Wednesday, the Mauritanian news website Sahara Medias said it had received a claim of responsibility from al-Qaeda’s regional wing for the killing of the two French journalists in northern Mali.

A Sahara Medias reporter said a spokesman for Abdelkrim al-Targui, a senior regional commander for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), had called by satellite phone to read a communique in Arabic. The caller had started by speaking in Tamashek, the language spoken by Tuaregs in northern Mali.

The communique said the killing was only a small part of the price French President Francois Hollande and his people would have to pay for this year’s military intervention, which drove out Islamist militants who had seized half the country.

Sahara Medias is often sent statements by Islamist militants in Mali.

(With AFP and Reuters)