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UN mission, Malian officials: French kill Hamaha, red-bearded spokesman for jihadist groups

Malian intelligence officials and the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country say a prominent jihadist spokesman has been killed by French forces.

An internal U.N. report obtained by The Associated Press said that French forces killed three militants including Omar Ould Hamaha in fighting that broke out on March 8 northeast of Timbuktu.

Hamaha, known for his red beard, frequently spoke to journalists on behalf of the radical Islamic militants who ran northern Mali until a French-led operation ousted them in early 2013.

Hamaha also was related through marriage to Moktar Belmoktar, the one-eyed terror leader behind the brazen attack on an Algerian natural gas facility that left 39 foreign hostages dead.