Europe

French military: death toll in Mali base attack rises to 77

A French military spokesman says the death toll in the attack on an army camp in Gao, in northern Mali, has risen to 77.

Col. Patrik Steiger said on Thursday that 77 people were killed in the attack a day earlier by a suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden vehicle. The victims were soldiers and former fighters trying to stabilize the region after a 2015 peace agreement with the government.

Steiger said he was uncertain about the number of injured, reported earlier at 150.

A group linked to al-Qaida's North Africa branch, al-Mourabitoun, claimed responsibility.

The attack came days after French President Francois Hollande visited Gao. France intervened in Mali in 2013 to crush Islamist extremists. French soldiers remain as part of a larger operation in the Sahel region.