French hostage killed in Somalia commando raid

At least one French commando was killed during a daring raid Friday night to rescue a French intelligence operative held hostage in Somilia. The captive officer, identified as Denis Allex, was killed by his captors during the operation, the French defence minister said Saturday. A second commando remained unaccounted for.

A statement by the defence ministry said two commandoes had been killed, but there appeared to be some confusion about the second commando.

The raid also resulted in the death of 17 Somali fighters, according to the defence ministry.

"Faced with the intransigence of the terrorists, who refused to negotiate for three and a half years and who were holding Denis Allex in inhumane conditions, an operation was planned and carried out," the ministry said.

The raid came as France sent troops into Africa's Mali to help the government beat back advances by Islamic rebels. The Somali raid to get Allex led to speculation that the French government was trying to prevent reprisals for its actions in Mali.

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