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Five Islamist suicide bombers on Saturday targeted a military patrol near Gao in northern Mali, leaving two Malian soldiers and the attackers dead, a Malian military source said.
"A Malian military patrol was in the village of Hamakouladji (40 kilometres/25 miles north of Gao) this Saturday," the source who requested anonymity told AFP.
"Jihadists blew themselves up as (the patrol) passed. Two Malian troops were killed on the spot. Five jihadists also died," said the source in Gao, north Mali's main town.
France launched a military intervention in the west African country in January to quash Al-Qaeda-linked groups that had taken control of the north.
The French-led campaign destroyed the bases and installations of armed Islamist groups in northern Mali, leaving them unable to conduct coordinated operations, but they are still capable of small-scale attacks against Malian and French soldiers.