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Top Islamic State group official killed in Mali, says France

AFP file photo | A soldier from France's Barkhane pictured on patrol in central Mali, at the border zone with Burkina Faso and Niger.

France said on Monday it had killed a top official from Islamic State's affiliate in West Africa in an operation in Mali that also killed another member of the group and two civilians.

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The defence ministry, in a statement, named him as Mohamed Ag Almouner and said he was one of the top officials of the Islamic State (IS) group in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). It did not name the second member of the group who was killed.

The ministry said two civilians – a woman and a teenager – were killed in the operation which was carried out on Sunday.

Two other civilians and a member of the IS group's affiliate group were also injured, the statement said.

The statement expressed regret at the civilian deaths and said an investigation was under way to determine how they got caught up in the attack.

Sunday's operation involved two Mirage 2000 aircraft, followed up by ground forces.

France has deployed around 4,000 French troops in the West Africa's Sahel region as part of Operation Barkhane aimed at combating Islamist militants in the region.

ISGS, based on Mali's border with Burkina Faso, is just one of several jihadist groups who are active in the area.

It is led by Adnan Abu Walid Sahrawi, who was formerly a member of the al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)

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