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Mali: 20 Islamists killed in Gao

Malian soldiers fired rocket-propelled grenades at a buildingl in Gao where armed Islamist forces had been holed up.

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Malian soldiers fight in the city of Gao. (AFP/Getty Images)

The fighting in Gao, in northern Mali, has intensified with up to 20 Islamists killed in a battle that erupted after extremists were reported to have infiltrated the city, France's defence ministry said Friday.

Four Malian troops and two French soldiers were wounded in the fighting, Reuters reported.

On Friday Malian and French soldiers fired rocket-propelled grenades at the city's town hall, where armed extremists had barricaded themselves

France's Defense Ministry said on Friday the violence happened during fighting to retake a mayor's office occupied by the militants.

Calm had returned in the afternoon, the ministry reported on its website.

France intervened last month to help the Malian army oust Islamist militants who seized northern Mali last year, the BBC reported.

Thousands of soldiers from African countries have also been deploying since then.

More from GlobalPost: Mali troops fire heavy weapons at Gao town hall

The latest battle followed earlier fighting when Jihadist fighters fired two rockets at military points in Gao, and a suicide bomber attacked secular rebels near Algeria's border, the Washington Post reported.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/war/conflict-zones/130222/mali-20-islamists-killed-gao