Al-Qaeda-linked Militant Group Claims Mali Attack that Killed Two French Soldiers

An Al-Qaeda-linked militant group operating in Mali claimed responsibility the attack that left two French soldiers killed in the West African country on Wednesday.

The two soldiers were killed after their armored vehicle was struck by an explosive device planted on the road near Mali’s border with Niger and Burkina Faso. Military operation to hunt down the perpetrators launched.

The border area has become increasingly dangerous for international forces seeking to quell Islamic insurgencies in the remote Sahel region.

In October, militants killed four U.S. troops just over the border in Niger.

The Al-Qaeda -linked JNIM, which has been responsible for other attacks in Mali and has been linked to the kidnapping of at least six western hostages in recent years, claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack late on Friday on two Mauritanian websites, through which the group has previously communicated.

Islamist militants set foothold in northern Mali in 2012 before French forces pushed them back in 2013.

The insurgency has crept back, and attacks have occurred further and further south, into neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso, and as far afield as Ivory Coast.

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