Suicide car-bomber kills Malian soldier in Timbuktu

Malian soldiers stand near an armoured carrier at the Diabaly military base, 400 km from Bamako, March 15, 2013. REUTERS/Adama Diarra

BAMAKO: A suicide car-bomber killed a Malian soldier and wounded six others at the airport in the northern town of Timbuktu overnight, a spokesman for Mali's army said on Thursday.

It was the first suicide attack in Timbuktu since French and Malian forces chased al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants from the ancient trading town nearly two months ago.

"It happened at the Malian army checkpoint, just before the French checkpoint ... we are mopping up to see if there are any other attackers in the area," said Captain Samba Coulibaly, spokesman for Mali's army in Timbuktu.

French army spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard said French and Malian forces had repelled an attempt to infiltrate the airport and there were no French casualties.

The French-led offensive has pushed a mix of Islamists out of the northern towns and the remote mountain bases they had occupied, but the militants have hit back with several suicide attacks on the newly freed towns.





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