A Malian official says that a French military operation killed 12 extremists in far northern Mali, amid renewed violence in the region.

The French Defense Ministry says that French troops put a dozen fighters "out of action" after moving in on the group in the rugged Adrar des Ifoghas area Saturday. A local official in northern Mali confirmed Tuesday that the 12 were killed. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The French ministry said no French troops were killed.

French and U.N. troops remain in the region after France intervened in former colony Mali two years ago and dispersed Islamic extremists who had taken control of the arid north. Recent months have seen repeated attacks by extremists and rising tensions with the Tuaregs.