Mali: 15 militants killed in Timbuktu attack

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The French army says a deadly extremist attack on a United Nations military camp in northern Mali was "particularly sophisticated and underhanded".

The UN's Timbuktu Super Camp, where Saturday's attack took place, was already the scene of an attack last May which killed a Liberian peacekeeper and wounded nine.

The UN mission confirmed that the complex attack had killed a UN peacekeeper.

In a statement, the security ministry said the attack involved dozens of rockets fired by militants "wearing blue helmets". Their vehicles were also rigged with explosives. Three vehicle bombs were exploded, it said.

Ten troops in the Barkhane camp were injured, with five seriously wounded.

United Nations peacekeeping and French military forces stationed in northern Mali have been under near-constant attack over the past year by determined and well-armed jihadist groups seen as the gravest threat to security across Africa's Sahel region.

"We've never seen an attack like this", a separate official from the Timbuktu governorate said.

Mali's unrest stems from a 2012 Tuareg separatist uprising against the state which was exploited by jihadists in order to take over key cities in the north. It has more than 11,000 troops and 1,741 police, and is considered one of the UN's most risky missions. "It's the first time there has been an attack on this scale against the MINUSMA in Timbuktu", the security source said, adding that the final casualty toll was still awaited. Seven security force members and six attackers were killed, according to the UN.