MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - A French commando raid in Somalia to free a captive intelligence agent has ended in the deaths of 17 Islamists, a French soldier and apparently the hostage as well.
France says the agent was killed in the botched rescue, but the man's captors deny it and claim to have seized a second soldier.
The French agent, known by the code-name Denis Allex, was captured in the east African country on July 14, 2009. He was last seen in a video released in October pleading for the French president to help him.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says the operation in Somalia was unrelated to the French offensive overnight in Mali to drive back Islamist militants in the west African country. There are seven French hostages in Mali.