Algerian terrorist Mokhtar Belmokhtar has been killed in a US air strike in Libya, officials say.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, 43, and other fighters were killed in the raid by aircraft in the eastern city of Ajdabiya, a statement from Libya’s government said.
The US has confirmed Mokhtar Belmokhtar was targeted but did not say he had died.
The Pentagon described the strike as successful and that officials were still assessing its results.
It would “provide more details as appropriate” said spokesman Colonel Steve Warren.
There have been incorrect reports of Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s death in the past.
Born in Algeria, Mokhtar Belmokhtar was a former senior figure in al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), but left to form his own militia.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar gained notoriety with the attack on the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria in 2013, when about 800 people were taken hostage and 40 killed, most of them foreigners, including three Americans.
The US has filed terror charges against him and officials said they believed he remained a threat to Western interests.
Col. Steve Warren said: “Belmokhtar has a long history of leading terrorist activities as a member of AQIM, is the operational leader of the al-Qaeda-associated al-Murabitoun organization in north-west Africa, and maintains his personal allegiance to al-Qaeda.”
The Libyan government said the strike came after consultation with the US. Their statement said it resulted in the death of the “terrorist Belmokhtar”.
Libya has been in chaos since the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Its internationally recognized parliament is operating in exile in the eastern port of Tobruk.
A rival parliament, the Islamist-dominated General National Congress, is nearly 600 miles to the west in Tripoli.
Rival militia has been battling to fill the power vacuum, with Islamic State militants battling other Islamists in the east.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a top Islamist militant, has been killed by Chadian soldiers in Mali, Chad’s armed forces have announced.
His death was announced on Chadian state television but has not been confirmed by other sources.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar is a former al-Qaeda leader said to have ordered January’s attack on an Algerian gas plant where at least 37 hostages were killed.
Chadian troops are fighting Islamist militants in Mali as part of an international force led by France.
“Chadian forces in Mali completely destroyed the main jihadist base in the Adrar de Ifhogas mountains… killing several terrorists including leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar,” the army statement on Chadian TV said.
Weapons, equipment and 60 vehicles were seized, it added.
If confirmed, Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s death would be a major blow to Islamist militants in Mali.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar is a former al-Qaeda leader said to have ordered January’s attack on an Algerian gas plant where at least 37 hostages were killed
Reports of the killing came a day after Chadian President Idriss Deby said the country’s forces killed al-Qaeda militant Abdelhamid Abou Zeid during clashes in northern Mali.
Abdelhamid Abou Zeid – whose death is still to be confirmed by DNA evidence – is said to be second-in-command of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is fighting foreign forces in Mali.
Algerian-born Mokhtar Belmokhtar has been fighting as an Islamist militant for more than two decades.
He claimed to have received military training in Afghanistan before returning to Algeria, where he lost an eye fighting in the Islamist insurgency in the 1990s.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar then joined AQIM – which operates across the Sahara – before breaking off to lead his own group.
He is also known as “Mr. Malboro” because of his alleged role in cigarette smuggling in the region.