PARIS: A French broadcaster on Monday published a cell phone picture which it said showed the body of militant leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who was reportedly killed by Chadian troops.
Radio France Internationale (RFI) said the picture, reproduced on its website, was taken by a Chadian soldier in northern Mali. The Chadian army, which has been at the forefront of the hunt for Al Qaeda-linked fighters hiding in northern Mali, said Belmokhtar was killed during an operation in the Ifoghas mountains on Saturday.
RFI said Chadian troops had confirmed that the picture showed the bloodied face of Belmokhtar, the one-eyed Islamist leader who masterminded an assault on an Algerian gas plant that left 37 foreign hostages dead in January.
The international community has reacted cautiously to the reports of his death.
"It would be a blow to terrorism," British Foreign Secretary William Hague told BBC television.
"These are reports from Chadian soldiers who have been doing a lot of the fighting in northern Mali. We can't absolutely confirm this at the moment - I stress that.