A suspected terror attack has killed more than 50 people in Mali, in one of the deadliest strikes against the country's military in years. The "Islamic State" group later claimed responsibility.
At least 53 soldiers and one civilian were killed in a suspected terrorist attack in northern Mali on Friday, the government said.
The raid on a military post occurred in the Indelimane area near the border with Niger. It is one of the deadliest attacks on the country's army in recent years.
"Reinforcements have been sent to the scene and the situation is under control with the support of the French military, which is helping to evacuate the wounded," government spokesman Yaya Sangare told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The militant "Islamic State" (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on the group's social media channels on Saturday. The group said the raid was carried out by IS "soldiers," but did not cite any evidence.
The European Union stressed its support for the government and people of Mali following the attack. A spokeswoman for the bloc's foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini added that stability in Mali and the whole region is a top priority for the EU.
Attacks of this nature occur frequently in Mali. An attack a month ago resulted in the deaths of numerous soldiers at two separate army posts. Islamic separatists were also accused of carrying out that particular onslaught.
French and African military operations, along with the Malian military's efforts, dispersed militants and restored government control in the region. However, rebel activities still occur in some areas, even though a number of peace agreements are in place.
rs,nm,jsi/aw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)