French forces have killed 24 armed Islamists in a two-week operation in northern Mali, the army announced on Saturday. They also seized a large quantity of arms and bomb-making equipment, a military statement said.
The operation, which began on 28 October and ended on Friday, led to the “neutralisation of 24 terrorists and the capture of two others”, according to the statement, adding that it had “weakened the terrorist networks operating in the north of Mali and loosened their grip on the population of this region”.
A French special forces soldier taking part in the anti-jihadist offensive was killed on 29 October.
The operation in the Amettati valley and the Tigharghar mountains was launched in response to a rise in attacks, including the killing of nine UN troops from Niger on 3 October as well as the deaths of several soldiers and civilians due to landmines.
It drew troops from the Barkhane force that was recently deployed troops to fight jihadists in five countries in the Sahel region.
French troops intervened in Mali in January 2013 after jihadists and Tuareg separatists had seized control of the north of the country.