French military says airstrikes kill 15 extremists in Mali

January 19, 2019 GMT

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The French military says it has carried out airstrikes in central Mali that killed some 15 members of an unnamed extremist group that had been preparing an attack.

A statement on Saturday says the airstrikes were carried out on Jan. 10 in coordination with the West African nation’s armed forces. The statement says the extremists had been planning an attack on a “symbolic institution” in the Dialoube region.

Mali is under threat from a number of extremist groups affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State organization. Suspicions about alleged support for extremism have led to a growing number of deadly clashes among communities in the country’s central region.

France’s 4,500-strong Barkhane counterterror force in West Africa is the country’s largest overseas military operation.