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Islamic extremists have killed four U.N. peacekeepers in Mali, the U.N. mission in Mali said Friday.

The incident occurred at the peacekeepers' camp in Aguelhok, in the northern part of the country. The camp is home to mostly Chadian peacekeepers.

Helicopters were dispatched to the camp to evacuate the wounded, the U.N. said, adding that several of the "heavily armed" attackers were killed.

The extremist movement in northern Mali began in 2012 when rebels seized control of several northern cities. In 2013, they were forced from power in a French-led operation.

The rebels have since regrouped in the desert and have launched frequent attacks on the Malian army and its allies.

Late last month, officials in Mali accused the French military of killing several civilians in an airstrike in the western Gao region. The French military said the strike killed insurgents.

Earlier this week, a U.N. report found that in January the French military had killed 19 civilians in an airstrike. France said those killed also were insurgents.

Source: Voice of America

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