Somali Islamists kill French hostage, claiming retribution
updated 6:38 AM EST, Wed January 16, 2013
TV grab of footage shows Denis Allex, a French hostage allegedly held by Somali militants, 12 January 2013.
- Somali Islamists claim the killing was revenge for a French military raid Friday
- The French government believes the hostage died during its rescue attempt
- Al-Shabaab quickly claimed after the mission that it had kept Denis Allex alive
- The Islamists accused France of killing Muslims around the world
(CNN) -- Islamist militants had been saving one last blow to deal to France after its military conducted a bloody, unsuccessful hostage rescue attempt in Somalia Friday.
Al-Shabaab declared Wednesday that it has killed the hostage. In the war of words, it was important to the militia to announce the killing occurred not during but after the raid -- as retribution for it.
Read more: 2 French soldiers likely killed in failed hostage rescue, defense minister says
The French defense ministry has said it believed the militant group killed military agent Denis Allex during Friday's intense firefight thus thwarting the operation's objective on the spot.
The al Qaeda affiliate claimed soon after the raid that it had moved Allex unharmed to a new location and would decide his fate shortly afterward in light of France's deadly military operation.
Read more: U.S. supported France's failed hostage rescue in Somalia
U.S. helps France fight African Islamists
French militant operations in Africa
Allex was an agent of the DGSE, France's equivalent of the CIA and a part of its defense ministry.
In the long statement on its decision to take his life, al-Shabaab accused the French soldiers of killing Muslims in military operations abroad and mistreating them at home. It mentioned France's current role in Mali, where 1,700 troops are to join forces with neighboring African countries to rout out an Islamist occupation of the country's north.
All of this in sum warranted Allex' killing as an act of vengeance, al-Shabaab said.
Read more: French bid to rescue hostage in Somalia fails, leading to soldier's death
At least 17 al-Shabaab fighters and two French soldiers died in Friday's mission in the village of Bulo-Marer, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) northwest of Mogadishu.
The French defense ministry originally reported one of the two soldiers as missing, but al-Shabaab later posted a photo of his purported corpse to its Twitter feed, saying he had died of wounds suffered during the heated battle that ensued during Friday's operation.
Allex was abducted on July 14, 2009, while on a mission in Mogadishu in support of the transitional Somali government, the French Defense Ministry said. French media reports suggest that Denis Allex is a pseudonym for the military serviceman.
French officials said they launched the rescue attempt after the terror group failed to negotiate for the hostage's release for years while holding him in inhumane conditions.
On Monday, French Defense Dinister Jean-Yves le Drian said the failure of the rescue mission was "extremely regrettable."
CNN's Saad Abedine contributed to this report
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.