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France confirms "with certainty" al Qaeda's Abou Zeid killed

PARIS (Reuters) - France said on Saturday it could confirm "with certainty" al Qaeda commander Abdelhamid Abou Zeid was killed in Mali in February. "The president of the French Republic confirms with certainty the death of Abdelhamid Abou Zeid after an offensive by the French army in the Adrar des Ifoghas (mountains) in the North of Mali, at the end of February," the Elysee presidential palace said. (Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Louise Ireland)

French min visits troops in north Mali, says mission not over

BAMAKO, March 7 (Reuters) - France's Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian paid a surprise visit on Thursday to French forces battling Islamist rebels in rugged northern Mali, saying their military mission would not end until security was restored in the West African country. After reviewing ranks of French soldiers near the desolate Adrar des Ifoghas mountains, Le Drian told France 24 television that Paris' aim was to help "reestablish security in the whole of Mali's territory".

UPDATE 2-French soldier killed in Mali, 20 rebels dead

* French forces clash with rebels in north Mali mountains * Hollande says last phase is to catch rebel leaders * French army finds Russian-made rocket launchers (Adds quotes, background, weapons find) By Vicky Buffery and John Irish

France says kills more than 20 militants in Mali

DAKAR, Feb 19 (Reuters) - More than 20 Islamist rebels were killed during a raid by French special forces and Malian troops in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountain range of Mali, the defence ministry said on Tuesday. The raid, during which one French legionnaire was killed, aimed at disrupting "terrorist" groups and dismantling their camps in an area where militants are believed to have taken refuge, the ministry said. (Reporting By John Irish and Bate Felix; Editing by Michael Roddy)
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