The attack in Mali’s northern Gao region is one of the deadliest in recent months.
Al Qaeda’s branch in West Africa, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, has released a statement saying it is willing to meet with the Malian government — but only after French and allied forces withdraw from the area.
Two recently released booklets by the al Qaeda group are likely meant to assuage tensions both within and outside its organization.
It is unclear if the unit represents a splinter of al Qaeda’s JNIM, though the group now represents an Islamic State-loyal faction close to the borders with Mauritania.
The al Qaeda group has claimed a series of attacks across the Sahel in recent weeks.
Al-Qaeda’s senior leadership released a statement praising the jihadists in Mali and elsewhere in Western Africa for confronting the “Crusaders.” Al-Qaeda’s management team encourages them to dismantle the “French and American project” across the region.
The large video details several major Islamic State operations inside the Sahel over the last few years.
In addition to the prison break, JNIM also claimed two other recent attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso.