French military: 11 jihadists killed, French soldier wounded during operation in northern Mali

A French military spokesman says 11 jihadists have been killed and a French soldier was wounded during a military operation in northern Mali.

Remi Libessart, a spokesman for the French-led mission known as Operation Serval, said Friday that the fighting had taken place early Thursday north of Timbuktu.

At least 19 radical Islamic militants were killed in December as the French military seeks to flush them out of their desert hideouts.

Al-Qaida and other extremists seized control of northern Mali in 2012 and were ousted from power in the major towns by a French-led operation one year ago.

A defense agreement between France and the Malian government is due to be signed in coming days that could permit France to establish a military base in its former colony.