Belmokhtar claimed kidnappings in Algeria oil field

French officials said they could not confirm Mokhtar Belmokhtar's killing. Credit: REUTERS/Sahara Media via Reuters TV

Mokhtar Belmokhtar claimed responsibility for the seizure of dozens of foreign hostages at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria in January in which more than 60 people were killed.

The Chadian claims of his death comes days after Chad's President Idriss Deby said soldiers in Mali had killed another leading al Qaeda commander in the Sahara, Adelhamid Abou Zeid.

French officials said they could not confirm the killing of either Abou Zeid or Belmokhtar.

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Al Qaeda kingpin 'killed in Mali'

Leading al Qaeda commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar, thought to be behind January's hostage crisis in Algeria, has been killed in Mali, according to Chadian forces. Foreign Secretary William Hague said if true, his death would be a "blow to terrorism".