Sarkozy calls emergency talks after Al Qaeda hostage claim
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and several of his ministers were holding an emergency security meeting Monday after the group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said it had killed a French hostage, French media reported.
In a message carried by the Al-Jazeera satellite channel overnight Monday, the group said it had killed 78-year-old Michel Germaneau in response to a raid in northern Mali last week by French and Mauritanian troops which killed six of its members, DPA reported.
"We confirm that we have killed the hostage Germaneau in revenge for our six brothers who were killed in the treacherous operation," an audio message from the terrorist group said.
Germaneau was kidnapped in northern Niger in April, when he was working with an aid group in the impoverished Sahel region
Al-Jazeera said the voice on the tape was that of Abu Musab Abdul- Wadud, the head of the North African branch of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.
Sarkozy had "definitely opened... the gates of hell on himself, his people and his nation," the audio message said.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux were among those taking part in Monday's meeting at the Elysee Palace.