BAMAKO (AFP) - Al-Qaeda’s top commander in Mali has been killed, Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno said, signalling a significant blow to the rebels in the seven-week French-led intervention against insurgents. Several newspapers in Abou Zeid’s native Algeria had reported his death and Washington had described the reports as “very credible”. Deby on Friday said Abou Zeid, the Mali-based operative of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was killed in fighting between Chadian troops and fighters on February 22. “On February 22, we lost several soldiers in the Ifogha mountains after destroying the militants’ base. This was the first time there was a direct confrontation with the rebels,” he said.