Second French soldier killed in Somalia


A second French soldier has died from gunshot wounds after an attempt to rescue a French agent failed at the weekend, Somalia's al Shabaab rebel group said today.

French forces went into southern Somalia by helicopter under the cover of darkness on Saturday to try to free Denis Allex, held hostage since 2009, but were met with fierce resistance from the al-Qaeda-linked militants.

The outcome of the mission was unclear. French president Francois Hollande said on Saturday the operation had failed despite the "sacrifice" of two soldiers and "no doubt the assassination of our hostage." Earlier the government had said one was missing-in-action.

"The second commando died from his bullet wounds. We shall display the bodies of the two Frenchmen," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for al Shabaab's military operations, said.

Mr Musab said Allex was alive and his fate would be decided later.