At Least 3 Killed in North Mali Rocket Attack: UN
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Unknown attackers fired dozens of rockets towards a UN base on the outskirts of the north Malian town of Kidal early on Sunday, killing at least three people, the United Nations said.
The incident is the third attack in the West African country this weekend, pointing to ongoing unrest two years after France helped retake the desert north from al Qaeda-linked militants.
"This morning at 0540 GMT (0140 DST), the MINUSMA (UN's Mali peacekeeping force) compound in Kidal was the target of more than 30 rockets and shells as part of a sophisticated attack," the UN said in a statement. One UN peacekeeper and eight others were injured, the statement added.
"MINUSMA is outraged at the cowardice of attackers who also targeted innocent civilians."
Security sources said that UN and French troops who share the base returned fire and sent air support. The peacekeeper killed was Chadian, they said, adding that calm had been restored.
A French army spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment, Reuters reported.
At least one shell fell on a nearby camp for Tuareg and Arab nomads, killing two people and injuring several children, a witness said.
A photo sent by the witness and seen by Reuters showed a child lying on a blanket in the sand with a severe face wound.
France launched a UN-backed military intervention in its former colony in January 2013 to drive militants from towns in northern Mali which they had seized a year earlier.