Somali militants have posted a picture of what they claim is the second French commando killed after a failed attempt to save a French hostage.
He was part of a mission this weekend to rescue Denis Allex, whose fate remains unknown. But al Shabaab says a message concerning him is forthcoming.
Allex was one of two French secret service officers kidnapped by al Shabaab in the capital Mogadishu. His colleague managed to escape after a month
Planning for the raid to free Allex is understood to have begun in December and coincides with the launch of French air strikes on al Qaeda affiliated rebels in Mali but the operations are unconnected.
Al Shabaab wants to impose their strict version of sharia, or Islamic law, across the Horn of Africa state. It is calling on France to end its support for the Somali government and a withdrawal of the 17,600-strong African peacekeeping force propping up the UN backed administration.