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France Confirms Hostage's Killing By Al-Qaeda

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (file photo)
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has confirmed that a 78-year-old French aid worker was killed after being kidnapped in the Sahara desert by Al-Qaeda's North African arm.

Sarkozy vowed after an emergency security meeting with several of his ministers today that France would avenge the July 24 death of Michel Germaneau in northern Mali.

A local official in the region, meanwhile, says the elderly French aid worker was beheaded by the Al-Qaeda militants.

Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, said in an audio recording broadcast by the Al-Jazeera satellite television channel during the weekend that Germaneau was killed in retaliation for the deaths of six Al-Qaeda militants in Mali last week during a raid by Mauritanian and French troops.

Sarkozy today said he has instructed his defense and foreign ministers to take steps to prepare France's response.

He also confirmed that French soldiers took part in last week's raid against an Al-Qaeda base in Mali.

compiled from agency reports