Al-Shabaab condemns Frenchman to death

Jan. 16, 2013 at 11:35 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The French government signed the death warrant for intelligence officer Denis Allex when it botched a rescue attempt in Somalia, al-Shabaab said Wednesday.

French forces last week deployed military forces on the al-Shabaab stronghold of Bulo Marer in an effort to rescue Allex. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was quoted by the BBC as saying French commandos were responding based on al-Shabaab's "unreasonable demands."

News agency France 24 cites al-Shabaab's statements posted on microblog website Twitter that said the group reached a "unanimous decision to execute" the intelligence officer following "exhaustive attempts at negotiations."

It was unclear if al-Shabaab had carried out the threat. The Long War Journal, an online forum monitoring terrorist activity in the region, reported that al-Shabaab, aligned with al-Qaida, had executed the Frenchman. The BBC, for its part, reports that while French officials said they believed Allex may have died during last week's raid. There's been no proof offered by Somali militants.

The French government said more than a dozen militants were killed in the botched rescue attempt last week along with several civilians.

"With the rescue attempt, France has voluntarily signed Allex's death warrant," al-Shabaab was quoted as stating.

France has been the target of al-Qaida threats for its role in the military conflicts in Afghanistan and now for its assault against Islamic militants in Mali.

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