Somali Islamists deny death of French spy

France said today that it believes intelligence officer Denis Allex was killed during "intense combat".

Commandos broke into where Allex was being detained last night and immediately faced strong resistance. Intense combat took place, during which - and now I speak with caution - everything leads us to believe that Denis Allex was unfortunately killed by his captors.

– France's Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

However, a spokesman for al Shabaab claimed the spy is still alive in a statement.

The injured French soldier is now in the custody of the mujahideen and Allex still remains safe and far from the location of the battle.

– Al Shabaab spokesman

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French Somalia hostage 'killed'

Somali militants claim a French intelligence officer held captive for three years has been executed. Al Shabbab tweeted that Denis Allex was killed yesterday. A bid to rescue him failed last week. French officials said Allex had died in the attempt.