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Al-Qaeda's North African wing says it has killed a French hostage it was holding in response to a raid by France and Mauritania against the group.
Al Jazeera television says French national Michel Germaneau was killed on Saturday in revenge for the killing of six group members in the raid. French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office says it has no confirmation of Germaneau's death and is checking the report.
The 78-year old retired engineer was kidnapped in northern Niger in April and was believed to be in the hands of Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, leader of the more hardline of the two Al-Qaeda factions operating in the Sahara.