Although Colonel Gilles Jaron, speaking for the French General Staff, did not confirm that the dead jihadist was Said, sources in the Mali military and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) both told AFP that it was. For a short while, there were also ill-founded rumours that Iyad himself had been killed. These may have stemmed from unverified reports on local social media some two weeks earlier that intimated as much.
Authoritative local sources are fairly certain, however, that Iyad, now wanted as a designated international terrorist, is being sheltered by the authorities in Algeria. It is widely believed that he is being housed just across the border in Tin Zaouatene, although his presence has also been reported in Tamanrasset. Confirmation was also received this month from a former high-ranking US intelligence officer responsible for the sector that Iyad was being sheltered by Algeria.
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