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Two Jihadists Shot After Niger Attack

Niger map
Niger map
Armed forces from France and Niger forces have shot dead two more Islamist militants who took part in an attack on a military barracks in northern Niger.

A journalist at the scene said French special forces took part in an operation Friday to subdue the two militants, who had holed up in the barracks following Thursday's suicide bombing and shooting attack.

Niger's defense minister confirmed the deaths and the participation of French special forces. There are conflicting reports on the fate of two hostages the militants had taken captive.

Islamist militants attacked the barracks in the town of Agadez and a French-owned uranium mine in Arlit simultaneously on Thursday morning. The attack on the barracks killed at least 20 people, most of them Nigerien soldiers.

The Malian Islamist group MUJAO claimed responsibility for the attacks, as did a former North African al-Qaida leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

They said the attacks were retaliation for the French-led military intervention against Islamist militants in Mali.

Belmokhtar's group previously claimed responsibility for attack on an Algerian natural gas plant in January in which at least 38 foreigners were killed. The rebel leader was previously thought to have died at the hands of Chadian troops in northern Mali in March. Both Chad and Niger have contributed soldiers to the African force fighting the militants.
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