PARIS -- A French secret service agent kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalists in Somalia was killed in an attempt to free him, the government here said Saturday.
The French Defense Ministry said Denis Allex was fatally shot by his Al Shabab captors in the early hours Saturday during a commando raid by French forces. At least one French soldier was killed, as well as 17 Islamic militants, the government said.
Allex, an agent for the Direction Generale de la Security Exterieure, had been held hostage since being snatched in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, in July 2009. Officially, he was in Somalia to "help ... and advise the Somali government." He was taken from his hotel with one of his colleagues, who escaped a month later.
His captors accused him of spying for France.
Despite the government statement, a French news agency reported a claim from Al Shabab that Allex was still alive and being held by the group, which would "decide his fate" in the next few days.