France says 2 journalists held in Syria are alive

PARIS (AP) — France says that two French journalists who were kidnapped in Syria last month are alive, but that one of six French hostages in Mali is likely dead — as the al-Qaida-linked captors have said.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Europe 1 radio Sunday that Didier Francois and Edouard Elias, the two journalists who disappeared in June in Syria, are alive. President Francois Hollande said later on French TV that “we’re doing everything to find where they are, to know exactly the intentions of their captors.”

However, Hollande said that Philippe Verdon — who was kidnapped in 2011 in Mali, the African country where France led a military intervention against extremists — apparently is dead.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb’s media arm said in April that Verdon was dead.

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