French say they killed 19 extremists near Timbuktu

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BAMAKO, Mali (AP) - The French military says it has killed at least 19 extremists this week in an operation in the northern desert region near Timbuktu, one of the towns that was under al-Qaida control for much of 2012.

Hubert de Quievrecourt, spokesman for the French force in Mali, confirmed by telephone that the 19 were killed in an operation 200 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of Timbuktu early Monday. The death toll marks one of the largest single-day attacks against the extremists by the French. He provided no further details.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb moved into northern Mali, then last year set up its version of an Islamic state from its headquarters in Timbuktu.

France launched an intervention in January to help Mali retake its lost territory.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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