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French soldiers kill ‘several dozen’ extremist militants in Mali

French soldiers have killed "several dozen" fighters from militant extremist groups during an operation in the West African nation of Mali, the French General Staff reported.

French soldiers have killed “several dozen” fighters from militant extremist groups during an operation in the West African nation of Mali, the French General Staff reported.

Soldiers engaged with militants in central Mali around 180 kilometres east of the regional capital Mopti, deploying Mirage aircraft, attack helicopters and ground troops.

In the statement released late on Friday, the French military did not state how many militants were killed in the operation, which lasted several hours and took place on Thursday. Around 20 motorcycles and weapons were seized or destroyed.

France is fighting terrorist groups in the vast Sahel region, some of which have pledged allegiance to the terrorist militia Islamic State or al-Qaeda.

An EU mission to train armed forces and a UN military mission are also active in the crisis-ridden country.

The statement came after French Defence Minister Florence Parly announced on Friday that a leading jihadist had been killed by French soldiers in Mali.

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