Mali militants attack bases disguised as United Nations peacekeepers

The rocket and car bomb attack left one UN peacekeeper dead a dozen wounded and another dozen French soldiers hurt at Timbuktu’s airport area

The rocket and car bomb attack left one UN peacekeeper dead a dozen wounded and another dozen French soldiers hurt at Timbuktu’s airport area

Militants disguised as UN peacekeepers exploded two suicide auto bombs and fired dozens of rockets at the French and United Nations bases in Mali's northern city of Timbuktu on Saturday, killing one and wounding dozens, Malian authorities said.

The UN chief stated that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under global law.

An attempted suicide bombing and mortar fire left at least six United Nations peacekeepers wounded in northern Mali, a foreign security source told AFP. The Malian government said in addition that 10 French soldiers had been wounded, but the French mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

The ministry said that while five people were seriously injured, the fighting had ended and the situation was under control.

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Attacks against United Nations peacekeepers and government forces are common in Mali, a former French colony which also has a French military presence.

But one foreign security source told the AFP news agency the scale of the most recent assault was "unprecedented" in Timbuktu.

The UN mission has been deployed in Mali since a 2013 Tuareg separatist uprising. One of the vehicles exploded, while the other was intercepted by troops.

"MINUSMA confirms that at its base in the city of Timbuktu was attacked with the use of a vehicle bomb and mortars".

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