France kills 33 militants in Mali raid – President

FILE PHOTO: France’s President Emmanuel Macron speaks during the inauguration of the Agora “win win” in Koumassi, Abidjan, Ivory Coast December 21, 2019. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – France killed 33 militants in Mali on Saturday using attack helicopters, ground troops and a drone near the border with Mauritania where a group linked to al Qaeda operates, the French authorities said.

The raid about 150 km (90 miles) northwest of Mopti in Mali targeted the same forest area where France wrongly claimed last year it had killed Amadou Koufa, one of the most senior Islamist militants being hunted by French forces in the Sahel.

A spokesman for the French army’s chief of staff declined to say at this stage whether Koufa was the target this time.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the operation in a speech to the French community in Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan, describing it as a major success.

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