'Finance and logistics coordinator' of al-Qaeda in Mali killed by French armed forces

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By AFP  with Euronews
French soldiers, pictured in Gao, northern Mali, in February 2013.
French soldiers, pictured in Gao, northern Mali, in February 2013.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File

France's army says it killed a "senior" Al-Qaeda operative during a military operation in Mali last month.

Yahia Djouadi -- also known as Abu Ammar al-Jazairi -- was killed overnight on February 26, the French Armed Forces Ministry said in a statement.

The anti-jihadist operation took place around 100 kilometres north of Timbuktu, it added.

Djouadi -- an Algerian national -- was referred to as a "senior leader" of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), responsible for coordinating "finance and logistics".

The French army said he was located in a known area in Mali that the group has used as a "refuge".

"He was neutralised in a ground intervention, assisted by a reconnaissance and attack helicopter and two French drones,” the statement read.

His death "once again weakens al Qaeda's governance" in Mali, Paris stated, saying the mission was a "significant tactical success".

The killing of Djouadi comes as European countries have agreed to withdraw military forces from Mali, following a request from the country's military junta.

France had agreed to withdraw around 2,400 troops in total from the Sahel region but says it "remains committed" to supporting anti-terrorist efforts in West Africa, where local factions of Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State are still active.

According to an official report, an attack on a Malian army camp in Mondoro on Friday left at least 27 soldiers dead.

Meanwhile, a United Nations peacekeeping convoy hit a roadside bomb on Monday, killing two people and wounding four others. Another attack on the Malian military left two dead.