Somali militants claim to have executed French hostage

Somali militants linked to al-Qaida say they executed a French agent whom French armed forces had tried to rescue. The claim is at odds with France, which has consistently said the agent was killed in Saturday's failed rescue mission.

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somali militants linked to al-Qaida said Thursday they had executed a French agent who French armed forces had tried to rescue during the weekend.

The Al-Shabaab rebel group said on its Twitter account that Denis Allex, held hostage since 2009, had been killed at 11:30 a.m. ET Wednesday.

"Let Muslims enjoy his execution and the French cry," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al-Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, said.

The militants added that the decision to kill Allex was unanimous and followed three years of what they called exhaustive attempts at negotiation.

France has consistently said it believed Allex was killed in Saturday's failed rescue mission and have accused the militants of manipulating the media with their latest statements.

Two French commandos were killed in the failed raid, which coincided with the launch of French air strikes against Islamist militants in the West African country of Mali.

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