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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The department store chain said nearly 400 jobs would be lost as it grapples with the pressures facing the retail sector.
Consumer prices have rocketed by 58% since 2003, with the UK industry paying the biggest bills in Europe.
Friday will be a much calmer day for many, with the weather set to remain dryer with sunny periods and much lighter winds than on Thursday.