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French forces kill at least 10 extremists, seize weapons in northern Mali, say officials

French forces in Mali say that they have killed about 10 extremists and recovered arms and explosives after heavy fighting in the country's north near Niger.

A statement from the French military sent early Wednesday said the forces also seized pick-up trucks and a dozen motorcycles after four hours of fighting with al-Mourabitoun extremists in Mali's northeastern Menaka region on Dec. 19 and Dec. 20.

The Islamic extremist group was the first to claim responsibility for the Nov. 20 attack on the Radisson Blu hotel that killed 20 people. It said it worked with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, saying it was their first joint operation.

A French-led operation pushed extremists from urban centers in northern Mali in 2013, but insecurity remains and extremists are launching attacks further south.