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Mali declares three-day mourning after attacks

A Malian soldier motions to take cover during exchanges of fire with jihadists in Gao, northern Mali, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   -  
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Jerome Delay/AP


Mali declared three days of national mourning to begin on Thursday after the deadliest recent attacks by Islamist militants.

The army said an ambush Sunday left 42 soldiers dead in the northern region of Gao. According to a statement, adding jihadi extremists used drones, artillery and booby-trapped vehicles.

On national television, the anchor gave more details: "Following the end of the fighting, the death toll is as follows: on the enemy's side - thirty seven terrorists were neutralised, equipment was abandoned by the assailants s in the vicinity of Tessit, as well as two vehicles containing equipment and their occupants were destroyed by airstrikes in a forest locate five kilometers south of the locality. On the friendly side - fourty two dead and twnety wounded", Ibrahim Traore read.

In Mali's South, another attack Sunday, claimed by Al-Qaida-linked group JNIM, killed five police officers.

The country and its partners have been fighting off extremists for nearly a decade. Despite deliveries of military equipment, terrorits have heaped pressure on the Malian transitional authorities. Intensifying attacks ever since Mali’s European partners were asked to withdraw.

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