French kill 19 Islamists in Mali: French Army

French troops killed 19 Islamist militants during an army operation in Mali`s rebel-infested northern desert on Tuesday, a French military source told a news agency.

Bamako: French troops killed 19 Islamist militants during an army operation in Mali`s rebel-infested northern desert on Tuesday, a French military source told a news agency.

"A French military operation is underway north of Timbuktu. French troops are facing a pretty determined group. At the moment, 19 members of this group have been killed," the Bamako-based source said.

"The French troops haven`t reported any deaths or injuries. We are in control of the situation."
A French-led offensive in January drove Islamist groups linked to al-Qaeda out of the cities of northern Mali, including Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal, after they occupied them in the wake of a coup in Bamako last year.

But the jihadists have continued to launch periodic strikes on the French, Malian and African peacekeeping forces.

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