Somali Militants Say They Will Execute French Agent

The Atlantic

The Islamic militant group holding a French intelligence agent for last three years says he survived the botched rescue attempt made by his countrymen, but that they have decided to kill him anyway in retaliation. French officials originally announced that Dennis Allex had been killed, along with two other French commandos, during a military raid that was meant to free him last Friday. On Wednesday, the group they attacked, Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen, issued a press release (via Twitter) stating that Allex was alive, but also accusing French forces of murdering civilians during the operation and deserting their colleagues. As retaliation for the attack and other French actions in Africa, they say they "reached a unanimous decision to execute the French intelligence officer, Dennis Allex."

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Al-Shabaab is an al-Qaeda linked Islamic group that has taken control of large portions of Somalia while frequently doing battle with government and African Union troops. After the battle with French soldiers over the weekend, the group posted photos of one of the dead commandos, taunting French president Francois Hollande with the message, "Was it worth it?" They've offered no proof that Allex is still alive since the raid, so it's still not clear if he was killed in the attack, after it was overs, or is still awaiting his execution.

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It's a been a difficult week for France, as they've suddenly found themselves pulled into two major African conflicts, in just a matter of a few days. In addition to the Somali raid, military officials say they expect French troops to be in direct combat with rebel groups in Mali as soon as today. And in another incident on Wednesday, a French citizen was kidnapped in a raid on a BP oil facility in southern Algeria. The attackers claimed to be al-Qaeda members who slipped over the border from Mali, apparently as part of their planned retaliation against French interests elsewhere in the region. They killed at least one person and reportedly kidnapped a French citizen and four Japanese citizens working at the plant. The Algerian military has launched an effort to find them.

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