Shells fired at UN, French army base in Mali

Militants shelled a camp for French troops and the United Nations MINUSMA peacekeeping force in northeastern Mali, military sources told AFP on Tuesday, but failed to do any damage.

"Two shells were fired Monday night by unidentified persons at the Kidal camp for French troops and MINUSMA," said a Malian military source who added that there was "no damage or casualties".

The attack was confirmed by a French military source in Mali who said the shells passed safely over the camp, missing their targets.

The attack came amid an upsurge in violence in Mali's north in recent weeks in the aftermath of a French military intervention in January to oust armed groups linked to Al-Qaeda that had occupied the vast desert for the previous nine months.

Under heavy attack in the cities of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, the Islamists retreated into the desert and the cover of the Ifoghas mountains.

But the fragile peace did not last, and on September 28 the militants resumed their deadly insurgency, killing a dozen civilians and UN peacekeepers across the north in three weeks.

On Saturday an Islamist suicide bomber targeted a bank in Kidal, killing two Senegalese UN peacekeepers and wounding at least seven UN and Malian soldiers.

Kidal, the birthplace of the Tuareg rebellion and base of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, is supposed to be controlled by UN forces, the French and Malian troops.

But the situation remains chaotic and militants from many armed groups, including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, continue to be active in the city and surrounding region.