Al Qaeda's senior field commander in the Sahara, Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, has probably been killed in Mali, the head of France's joint chiefs of staff said on Monday.
Edouard Guillaud's remarks are the first indication from the French government that Abou Zeid died in fighting in the rugged north of Mali.
Asked on Europe 1 radio whether he had been killed, Guillaud said: "It is probable but only probable. We don't have any certainty for the moment (but) it would be good news."
Chad's army, which is fighting alongside French forces in northern Mali, said last week that it killed Abou Zeid and another al Qaeda commander in the area, Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
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