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Somali Militants Plan to Execute French Hostage

In this undated image from a video posted on Islamic militant websites and made available on June 9, 2010, a man identified as French security agent Denis Allex pleads for his release from the Somali militant group al-Shabab.
Somali militant group al-Shabab says it has decided to kill a French hostage, days after France carried out an unsuccessful rescue operation and presumed the man dead.

In a statement released via Twitter on Wednesday, the militants say they reached a unanimous decision to execute French intelligence officer Denis Allex.

Allex has been held since being kidnapped from a Mogadishu hotel in July 2009. Before then, he was part of a team helping to train Somali government troops to fight al-Shabab.

French forces tried to free Allex in a raid late Friday that according to France left two soldiers and 17 militants dead.

Al-Shabab says French forces killed civilians during the operation. The group says it is killing Allex to avenge those deaths and to protest what it calls France's anti-Muslim policies and French military operations in Afghanistan and Mali.

It was not clear from the statement whether Allex has already been killed.

He was last seen in a video posted online in October, appealing to French President Francois Hollande for help.

YouTube video message from Denis Allex to French president