Intercommunal eye for an eye killings have been increasing in the past week with dozens of Tuaregs and Fulani being killed on both sides of the Mali-Niger border. The massacres come in the backdrop of ongoing counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.
The group said that four suicide bombers, rather than the previously reported two or three, were used in the April 14 suicide assault on the Timbuktu airport. Additionally, JNIM also denied claims of the use of female suicide bombers.
JNIM claims the brazen assault was in retaliation for the death of several of its commanders and fighters in recent French raids.
French special forces took part in a large-scale joint operation with Malian and Nigerien troops, alongside Tuareg militias, against militants of the so-called Islamic State in the Greater Sahara on April 1.
French authorities ended a hostage crisis earlier today after an armed man assaulted a supermarket in Trèbes. The man reportedly killed at least three people, including a passenger in a car he attempted to hijack and two others in the market. The Islamic State (ISIS) claims the perpetrator is its “soldier.” ISIS has been tied to a series of plots in France since 2014.
The deadly IED blast comes just a week after major French raids on JNIM positions and leaders near the borders with Algeria.
French forces conducted near simultaneous raids and airstrikes on three jihadist targets belonging to al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM).
These assaults serve as a reminder of al Qaeda’s vast capabilities to strike across the region. This comes even with both a French counter-terrorism operation and a UN peacekeeping operation in Mali. Al Qaeda’s operational capacity in Mali and the wider West African region has largely remained intact.