Eleven Islamists fighters were killed and one French soldier was wounded in the latest military operation against militants in Mali’s turbulent desert north, according to security sources.
“The French military operation in the vicinity of Timbuktu has finished. Eleven terrorists were killed, one French soldier was injured, but his life is not in danger,” a French official told the AFP news agency on Friday.
A Malian army source confirmed the operation took place, and praised the French forces for neutralising foreign “jihadists” seeking to establish a permanent outpost in the region.
Both anonymous sources said equipment belonging to the extremists, including mobile phones, were seized during the operation.
Operation Serval was launched by France’s military in January 2013 to root out Islamist and rebel fighters controlling around half of Mali’s territory.
President François Hollande recently told French soldiers the objectives of the mission had been largely completed, announcing a major scale-down of troops in Mali this year.
Nevertheless, some militants have gone into hiding and continue sporadic attacks in northern Mali.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-01-24