A group headed by former al Qaeda fighter Mokhtar Belmokhtar has claimed responsibility for a suicide raid on U.N. peacekeepers in northern Mali earlier this week as two people were killed in an attack targeting truck convoy. Reuters has more:
At least three civilians were killed and nine peacekeepers from Niger were seriously injured in Wednesday’s attack on a U.N. base in the town of Ansongo, around 80 km (50 miles) south of the city of Gao. Mauritanian news website Alakhbar posted an audio statement on Friday claiming the attack on behalf of the armed Islamist group al-Mourabitoun.
“We, the Mourabitoun group, announce the martyrdom operation that one of our knights, Ibrahim al-Ansari, undertook at the headquarters of the Nigerien forces,” stated the low-quality recording. The authenticity of the recording could not be verified, but Alakhbar is often sent statements by Islamist militants in Mali.
Al-Mourabitoun was formed by the veteran Algerian jihadist Belmokhtar, who is a target of French forces hunting down al-Qaeda-linked militants in West Africa. The group has also said it was behind an attack on a restaurant in Mali’s capital Bamako last month that killed five people including a French citizen and a Belgian security officer.