First Published: 2013-01-14

 

Second French soldier dies after failed Somalia raid

 

Qaeda-linked Shebab say French soldier captured during failed hostage rescue raid has died, publish pictures of purported commando chief.

 

Middle East Online

Situation of Denis Allex unclear

MOGADISHU - Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab said Monday a French soldier wounded and captured during a failed hostage rescue raid has died and published pictures of the purported commando chief.

"The French soldier who was part of the invasion to Somalia died (from) the injury he sustained," Shebab military spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab said by telephone. "Our medical staff attempted to help him but he was unlucky."

France's military operation Saturday to free a French spy held hostage by the Shebab since July 2009 was a failure, with another French soldier killed and the situation of the hostage unclear.

The Shebab, who claim the hostage is alive, said they would announce later Monday their decision regarding his fate, while France believes he was killed during the rescue attempt.

The Shebab have posted on their Twitter account two pictures they claim are of a French commando chief killed in the botched raid.

The French defence ministry earlier had expressed fears that the Somali Islamists would put on display the bodies of the missing French soldier and the hostage.

"All indications unfortunately lead us to believe that the Shebab are preparing to organise a disgraceful and macabre display" of the bodies, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

The gruesome image recalled the incident in 1993 when the bodies of US soldiers were dragged through the streets and mutilated in Mogadishu, after a battle between US forces and Somali militia fighters.

The Shebab have displayed the body of an alleged French commander in photographs. One depicts him dressed in a black button-up shirt and khaki trousers, lying face up on an orange surface next to presumably his combat gear. A small crucifix was seen around his neck.

"Francois Hollande... was it worth it?", read a caption addressed to France's president on a second photo in which the dead man is seen with bullet magazines and an assortment of guns and other tools of war strewn around and on top of him.

The operation by France's elite DGSE secret service was an attempt to rescue an intelligence agent with the alias Denis Allex, who had been held by the Somali militants for three and a half years.

Le Drian said Saturday that the raid was sparked by the "intransigence of the terrorists who have refused to negotiate for three and a half years and were holding Denis Allex in inhuman conditions."

The minister said at the weekend that a French soldier was missing, but on Monday he said it now appeared that the soldier had died. He did not indicate that he was a commander.

At the same time the Shebab extremists have denied Le Drian's assertion that they had killed the hostage.

Le Drian said Saturday that 17 guerrillas were killed in the raid, while witnesses claimed eight civilians died during the operation at Bulomarer, a town south of Mogadishu still in the control of the Shebab.

Sources in Somalia said one of the reasons the raid failed was that the rebels had received advance warning, which senior Shebab commander Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim confirmed by telephone without giving further details.

Le Drian's explanation was that French troops had underestimated the Islamist rebels' strength when they launched the operation involving some 50 troops and at least five helicopters -- and some help from Washington.

President Barack Obama has acknowledged that US forces provided limited technical support for the operation, but said they had played no role in the fighting.

Denis Allex is the longest held French hostage overseas since French-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt, who had been held for more than six years by Colombian guerrillas until being rescued by Colombia's security forces in 2008.

 

An extraordinary meeting: Gulf ministers agree to end tension with Qatar

US releases $450 million Iranian frozen assets

‘Retaliation is life’ group vows to attack Egypt security forces

Gunmen storm South Sudan UN base killing 20

Malaysia activists: Obama you are not welcome here!

Kidnappers of Tunisian diplomat demand jailed Libyans release

Landmine blasts Tunisia soldier amid growing jihadist threat

Marzouki sets an 'example' by cutting salary by two-thirds

Rouhani: Iran does not intend to be aggressive but can defend itself

Turkey to Russia: We demand a gas price revision

For Massacre-scarred Algeria village, peace is worth more than wealth

An act of heroism: Iraq policeman sacrifices himself to shield army recruits

UK ‘determined to catch’ killer of Libya embassy policewoman

Experts: Washington demanded removal of Saudi spy chief

Future of Algeria on wheelchair

Palestinians rally for solidarity with Israel-held prisoners

Turkey may clinch bid to dismantle Italy’s wrecked ship

Israeli, Palestinian negotiators to hold meeting with US envoy

UN ‘gravely concerned’ about South Sudan oil state fighting

South Sudan war: Child soldiers consumed by desire for retribution

Algerians casting their vote for president

Syria world’s most perilous country fro journalists

Egypt jails ex-presidential hopeful for fraud

Egypt leftist leader urges all revolutionary groups to unite

Jordan ‘destroyed’ combat vehicles entering from Syria

South Sudan army loses key oil town of Bentiu

Lebanon parliament soon to elect new president

Zarif to discuss Caspion Sea states in Russia

MERS spreading in Saudi Arabia

Algeria finally opens its piggybank to lure back exiled youth

Suicide bombs rock Ramadi government compound

Three Palestinians killed in Gaza blast

Peace talks delayed after Palestine blamed for fatal shooting

Palestinians clash with Israeli police in Al-Aqsa

Undercover New York police unit that spied on Muslims disbanded

Washington will not issue visa for Iran UN envoy

British paedophile gets 20-year sentence in Morocco

Syria army fights its way into besieged Homs

Invisible Bouteflika urges Algerians to vote

Saudi Arabia replaces powerful intelligence chief

Benflis mobilizes ‘army’ to monitor Algeria election

Syria army advances on rebel-held neighbourhoods in Homs

Egypt court bans any Brotherhood candidacies in upcoming elections

Turkey rights groups sound alarm at plan to build gay-only prisons

Kuwait coup plot video ‘neither genuine nor reliable’