JNIM claims suicide bombing on French troops in Gao

Abu Saad al Ansari, the perpetrator of yesterday’s suicide bombing on French troops in Gao.

Al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) released a statement this morning claiming responsibility for yesterday’s suicide bombing inside the northern Malian city of Gao.

JNIM states that a suicide bomber, identified as Saad al Ansari (implying he is a local Malian), rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a French patrol in the city of Gao. French military sources confirmed to France24 that a military patrol of around 30 troops had come under attack in the city. At least eight French troops were wounded, while two civilians lost their lives in the explosion.

Only days earlier, JNIM also targeted the base of the G5 Sahel, an alliance of Sahelien states, in central Mali with a suicide bombing.  Three people were killed in the operation. The initial death toll was lowered down from six. In its claim of responsibility, JNIM confirmed that the strike involved both a suicide bombing and inghimasiiyeen (suicide commandos).

In today’s claim of responsibility, the al Qaeda group confirms that both attacks were meant as a message for France and its allies in the Sahel at the African Union summit that was held in Mauritania over the weekend. JNIM states that the assaults were meant to “let them know the magnitude of the threat to the lives of their soldiers and the material costs that lie ahead.” The jihadist group goes on to say that “and for their soldiers, there will be no picnic or tourism in the land of Islam.”

Caleb Weiss is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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