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10 extremists killed by French forces in Mali

French forces in Mali have killed about 10 extremists and recovered arms and explosives after heavy fighting in the country's north near Niger.

A statement from the French military said the forces also seized pick-up trucks and a dozen motorcycles after four hours of fighting with al-Mourabitoun extremists in north-eastern Menaka region on December 19 and 20.

The Islamic extremist group was the first to claim responsibility for the November 20 attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in the Malian capital Bamako that killed 20 people. It said it worked with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, saying it was their first joint operation.

A French-led operation pushed extremists from urban centres in northern Mali in 2013, but insecurity remains and extremists are launching attacks further south.

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