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French hostage believed dead in rescue attempt

A French intelligence officer held hostage in Somalia for three and a half years is believed to be dead after a failed rescue attempt. Seen here in a video broadcast by al Qaeda-linked insurgents, Denis Allex was one of two intelligence officers captured in Mogadishu in July 2009. The other man escaped a month later. The defence minister said Allex and a French soldier are believed dead after "very violent combat" with Somali insurgents Friday night. But the militants holding Allex said in a statement he was alive and far from the base that was raided. The al-Shabaab group also said they were holding an injured French soldier.

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