"On June 3, the French armed forces, with the support of their partners, neutralized the emir of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI), Abdelmalek Droukdal and several of his close collaborators, during an operation in northern Mali," Parly said in a French statement on Twitter.
Abdelmalek Droukdal, membre du comité directeur d’Al-Qaida, commandait l’ensemble des groupes qaïdistes d’Afrique du Nord et de la bande sahélienne, dont le JNIM, l’un des principaux groupes terroristes actifs au Sahel.— Florence Parly (@florence_parly) June 5, 2020
Also known as Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud, Droukdel commanded the group's forces in North Africa and parts of western Africa.
According to L'Alsace, Droukdel claimed responsibility for several deadly terrorist attacks, including an attack against the UN headquarters in Algiers in 2007 that killed 62 people. The BBC noted he may be responsible for introducing suicide bombing to Algeria.
France has deployed more than 5,000 soldiers to western Africa, where several countries that were once colonies of Paris have become embroiled in an irregular war against terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and Daesh, which have both established franchise groups in the region.