France is "at war" with al-Qaida and will step up efforts to fight its North African offshoot after it executed a French hostage in the Sahara, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed the killing Monday, vowing that the perpetrators "will not go unpunished."
His prime minister said Tuesday that France will reinforce efforts to work with governments in northwest Africa fighting al-Qaida in the sparsely populated swath of desert that includes the borders dividing Mauritania, Mali, Algeria and Niger.
"We are at war against al-Qaida," Fillon said on Europe-1 radio. He said France "thwarts several attacks every year," without elaborating.