French President Emmanuel Macron considered the killing of an Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) by members of the French service a major success in the country's continuing fight against international terrorism.
An operation conducted by the French military in the Greater Sahara allegedly resulted in the death of a man known by the country's officials as "enemy No. 1." The terrorist was identified as Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi and is believed to have been the one that ordered the attacks which killed four United States service members in 2017. He is also believed to be responsible for the deaths of French nationals and several thousand African civilians.
Death of Terrorist Group Leader
In an address, Macron announced the death of al-Sahrawi and praised the efforts of French service members for their accomplished mission. He noted that the terrorist leader's death will have a great impact on future terrorist and extremist activity in the region.
On Twitter, Macron uploaded a post that read, "Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, leader of the terrorist group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara was neutralized by French forces. This is another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel," Fox News reported.
The French president's statement continued to note that the entire nation is thanking all of the heroic members that gave their lives in service to the country. Macron said that none of the troops' sacrifices was in vain while committing to continuing the fight against terrorism.
Many experts considered the death of the ISGS leader as major news and a welcome achievement for governments struggling to fight against international terrorism. However, they warned that the militant groups could easily find a new leader to mitigate the damage to the group.
Al-Sahrawi's death would most likely only affect the terrorist group in the short term while a new leader is chosen. The incident is unlikely to severely cripple the insurrection group for a long period of time, senior Africa analyst at risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft, Alexandre Raymakers, said, Yahoo News reported.
Major Success Against Terrorism
Raymakers called the death of the terrorist leader a "tactical success" for Operation Barkhane because the removal of al-Sahrawi has long been a top priority for France. But despite a large number of French military operations over the years, the terrorist group has successfully continued to expand its reach in the Sahel.
The 2017 incident that al-Sahrawi led that resulted in the death of four U.S. soldiers involved an ambush of the American troop members who were returning to their base. During the encounter, the victims waited for nearly an hour before requesting help because they assumed there were only a few militants that attacked them.
Al-Sahrawi was responsible for forming the ISGS in 2015 and is responsible for the majority of the deadly attacks in the West African region. Some of the group's attacks include violence against six French aid workers who had Nigerian guides and drivers in 2020. But the killing of four U.S. troopers and five Nigerian fights was the deadliest attack on American troops in Africa since 1993, Business Insider reported.