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France Levels Al-Qaida Convoy in Niger

Niger map

France says its forces have destroyed a terrorist convoy linked to an al-Qaida group that was traveling through northern Niger.

A statement Friday from President Francois Hollande's office says the convoy belonged to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and was carrying weapons from Libya to Mali, where French forces have been battling Islamist militant groups.

France says the army, in cooperation with authorities in Niger, intercepted the convoy late Thursday and destroyed it, while seizing a "large quantity of arms" and capturing some of the men.

French forces are attempting to hunt down militants operating in Africa's Sahel region following several deadly attacks on United Nations peacekeepers in Mali.

In one attack a week ago, nine U.N. peacekeepers from Niger were killed by unidentified men in Mali's Gao region.