France says it has killed the leader of al-Qaeda in north Africa, Abdelmalek Droukdel, in an operation in Mali.
Defence Minister Florence Parly said Droukdel along with members of his inner circle had been killed in the north of the country on Wednesday.
French forces had also captured a senior Islamic State group commander in Mali in an operation in May, she said.
The “daring operations” had dealt “severe blows to the terrorist groups”, she said.
Droukdel was in charge of all the al-Qaeda affiliates in north Africa and also commanded al-Qaeda’s Sahel affiliate, Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), which has been active in Mali and Burkina Faso.
The captured Islamic State group commander, Mohamed Mrabat, was a veteran jihadist and had a senior role in the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) group, she said.
Thousands of French troops have been deployed in Mali since 2013.
Its involvement came after Islamist militants overran parts of the north. With the help of France, Mali’s army has recaptured the territory, but insecurity continues and violence has spread to neighbouring countries.
Some 4,500 French troops have been serving as part of Operation Barkhane in support of the forces of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.