Jihadist group Ansar Dine on Tuesday claimed responsibility for two weekend attacks in Mali near the borders with Mauritania and Ivory Coast, and threatened to strike both countries.
Three soldiers and nine militants were killed on Saturday as a military camp came under attack in the town of Nara, according to the government, while public and police buildings were ransacked in Fakola on Sunday.
"We are claiming the attack at Nara and the one at Fakola -- Islamic lands -- to punish the enemies of Islam," Ismael Khalil, a radical preacher and member of Ansar Dine, said by telephone.
He added that the militants would "multiply the attacks in Ivory Coast, Mali and Mauritania, countries that work with the enemies of Islam".
Little is known about Khalil but a Malian security source said he attended Koranic school in the central region of Mopti before visiting Saudi Arabia and Nigeria and eventually joining up with Ansar Dine leader Iyad Ag Ghaly in northern Mali in 2012.
Read more: Yahoo News (AFP)