(CNN) -- One of al Qaeda's most influential figures in North Africa has been killed in a French airstrike in northern Mali, according to sources close to the French military command in the country.
Abdelhamid Abou Zeid was a deputy leader of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and one of its most ruthless commanders, having seized at least a dozen foreigners for ransom. At least two have been killed; several French citizens remain captive.
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