France has launched a major offensive against the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group base in the West African country of Mali. The German news agency Deutsche Welle reported that more than 50 militants had been killed in the drone attack so far.

French Defense Minister Florence Parley said the operation was carried out on Friday (30 October) in the border areas of Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The area was under surveillance by French drones. At this time a large convoy of Anarul Islam group militants came to his attention in central Mali. This Anarul group works primarily with al-Qaeda.

Parle said the militants took refuge after seeing a French surveillance drone at a secret hideout. However, the Air Force was able to identify the camp and launch an attack. Most of the terrorists were killed in the attack. Four people have been arrested. A large number of weapons and explosives were recovered from the spot.

Shortly after the incident, the French Defense Minister went there to meet the President of Niger and the Defense Minister. The French government has also confirmed the release of four Frenchmen from the rebels in exchange for the release of 200 prisoners in Mali.

Last June, the French Army had a major success in Mali. At the time, Abdelmalake Druckdale, the top leader of al Qaeda, was killed in an attack by French troops. However, Parley did not say whether the al Qaeda commander was killed in Friday’s attack.

France has deployed 5,000 troops in the area to fight the rebels.

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