French army chief says military operation to free 7 hostages abducted in Niger not on table

PARIS (AP) — The head of the French military says a possible military operation to free seven hostages abducted last week in Niger is not under consideration for the moment.

Military chief of staff Adm. Edouard Guillaud says the hostages' lives are not currently "directly threatened," but he did not rule out a military operation later.

Al-Qaida's North African affiliate claimed responsibility for the Sept. 16 abduction, which took place in a heavily guarded uranium mining town in northern Niger. Five of the hostages are French nationals, one is from Togo and another is from Madagascar.

The group has warned against any possible military operation.

Guillaud told Europe-1 Friday that French officials are trying to make contact with the abductors.