"France in the front line," headlines Le Figaro in the wake of the death in Niger of two young French hostages, who were captured on 7 January in Niamey. According to official sources in Paris, the pair were killed by their captors in the course of a shoot-out with French and Nigerien armed forces. "Once again, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) appears to be responsible for this tragedy," writes the Paris daily. This latest incident follows hot on the heels of the AQIM’s assassination of a French aid worker in Niger in July, and the September kidnapping of five French employees of nuclear giant Areva in the north of the country. "It is now obvious that French citizens have become preferred targets for Islamic terrorists operating in this part of the world," remarks Le Figaro, which continues to voice support for French military intervention in the region, in spite of the failure to save the two hostages.