Joint Forces Kill Senior Islamic State Commander In Mali

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A joint force made up of troops from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger has killed a “major Islamic State commander” who the United States placed a $5m (£4m) bounty on his head.

His killing was part of an operation that was carried out in a tri-border area between the three Sahel countries.

Abu Huzeifa, a member of the Islamic State’s Sahel Province (ISGS) affiliate, was killed in the northern Malian region of Menaka on Sunday, ORTM TV said on Monday.

He had been linked to several high-profile militant raids in the region, including an attack in 2017 in which four US soldiers and a similar number of Niger troops were killed.

The US State Department offered a $5m bounty for information on Huzeifa for his alleged role in that attack.

Malian social media users celebrated the operation, praising the regional troops for succeeding where Western forces “had failed”.

ORTM TV said Abu Huzeifa was a Moroccan national who first arrived in Mali in 2012 and married a local woman.

Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger are battling a wave of Islamist insurgency, with groups linked to both IS and al-Qaeda killing thousands of people in the region in the past year.

Last month, the ruling military juntas of the three countries said they would form a joint force to fight jihadists, months after forming a mutual defence pact.