'Al-Qaeda kills French hostage'


Al-Qaeda in North Africa says it has killed French engineer Michel Germaneau, who was abducted in Niger in April. In an audio statement broadcast by Al Jazeera on Sunday, the head of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said his group killed the Frenchman on Saturday in response to a raid by France and Mauritania against the group.

"[French President Nicolas] Sarkozy was unable to free his compatriot through this failed operation but he definitely opened one of the gates of hell on himself, his people and his nation," the man, identified as AQIM leader Abu Musab Abdul-Wadud, said.

"As a quick response to the despicable French act, we confirm that we have killed hostage Germaneau in revenge for our six brothers who were killed in the treacherous operation," the voice in the tape, which resembled that of other recordings attributed to Abdul-Wadud, said.

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