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Chad Army: 13 Chadian Troops, 65 Islamists Killed in Mali

A file photo taken on Jan. 26, 2013 shows Chadian soldiers on a truck leaving Niamey for the Malian border.
The military command in the African country of Chad says 13 of its soldiers and 65 Islamist rebels have been killed in a fierce battle in a mountainous region of northern Mali.

A brief military statement late Friday from the Chadian capital said the Chadian force also destroyed five vehicles in the Ifoghas region, near Mali's border with Algeria. In addition, it said five Chadian troops were wounded.

Chad is part of an African force that is fighting with French and Malian troops against Islamist rebels who had taken over northern Mali.

Forces from former colonial power France entered Mali in January to push back militants moving toward the capital, Bamako.

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