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Mali Car Bombing Leaves 5 Dead

At least five people have been killed in an apparent suicide car bombing in northern Mali. The dead include the two suspected suicide bombers.

Investigators say the bombing occurred Friday near a base for members of the MNLA ethnic Tuareg rebel group, near the northern town of Tessalit.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Islamist groups have carried out bomb and shooting attacks in northern Mali since French and Malian government forces seized control of the region from militants last month.

In another development, U.S. President Barack Obama says an additional 40 U.S. troops have been sent to Niger to assist France and African countries with "intelligence sharing" operations in Mali.

In a Friday statement, Mr. Obama said the deployment raises the total number of U.S. personnel assisting the Mali mission from Niger to approximately 100.

On Thursday, French and Malian troops battled Islamist militants who attacked government buildings in the northern city of Gao. France said at least 15 Islamist militants were killed in the unrest.



A Malian Defense Ministry spokesman told VOA that while Gao had been liberated, "pockets of insecurity" remained in the northern city.

French forces entered Mali in January to push back Islamist militants who were moving toward the capital, Bamako.

France has said it plans to begin withdrawing its forces and hand over military operations to the Malian army and an African force.

French officials have also urged the United Nations to establish a peacekeeping mission in Mali.

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