Over 50 militants linked to the terror group Al-Qaeda were killed in central Mali in an airstrike launched by a French anti-jihadist force last week, claimed the government of France on Monday. French Defense Minister Florence Parly said, "I would like to reveal an operation of great importance which was carried out on October 30 in Mali by the Barkhane force, which was able to neutralize more than 50 jihadists and confiscated arms and material."
The airstrike took place near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger, where French government troops are struggling to rout an Islamic insurgency, Parly said.
The French Defence Minister made this revelation after her meeting with the members of Mali's transitional government. She had met Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou and her Nigerien counterpart Issoufou Katambe before heading to Bamako.
"The French troops launched the operation after a drone detected a 'very large' motorcycle caravan in the 'three borders' area," AFP quoted Parly as saying.
She also said that over 30 motorcycles were destroyed in the area.
Military spokesman Colonel Frederic Barbry revealed that four terrorists have been captured.
Barbry also said that another operation, with a total of 3,000 soldiers, was also underway targeting the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. The operation was launched about a month ago.
The results of the operation would be announced in the coming days, he said.