BAMAKO: Dutch United Nations peacekeepers carried out an air strike on Tuareg rebel forces in northern Mali on Tuesday, the rebels and three diplomatic sources said - the first such engagement by Dutch forces serving in the U.N. mission in Mali.
The diplomatic sources said the strike was carried out as MNLA separatist rebels advanced on the town of Tabankort, where there are rival militia fighters. A contingent of U.N. peacekeepers are also in the town, protecting civilians.
MNLA spokesman Moussa Ag Acharatoumane told Reuters that five rebels had been killed and several injured in the attack by at least one U.N. helicopter. The U.N. mission, which includes 380 troops and four Apache helicopter gunships from the Netherlands, was not immediately available for comment.