French kill 19 Islamists in Mali

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iol pic afr YE Mali Fighting


A French soldier checks passengers of a transport truck arriving in Gao, northern Mali.

Bamako - French troops killed 19 Islamist militants during an army operation in Mali's rebel-infested northern desert on Tuesday, a French military source told AFP.

“A French military operation is underway north of Timbuktu. French troops are facing a pretty determined group. At the moment, 19 members of this group have been killed,” the Bamako-based source said.

“The French troops haven't reported any deaths or injuries. We are in control of the situation.”

A French-led offensive in January drove Islamist groups linked to Al-Qaeda out of the cities of northern Mali, including Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal, after they occupied them in the wake of a coup in Bamako last year.

But the jihadists have continued to launch periodic strikes on the French, Malian and African peacekeeping forces.


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