A massive car bomb attack targeted France's Barkhane force in the central Malian town of Gossi on Monday injuring several soldiers, local sources told FRANCE 24.

The attack occurred in the Kaigourou neighbourhood of Gossi in central Mali injuring several soldiers operating under France's Operation Barkhane in Sahel, according to local sources.

Witnesses said several military helicopters could be seen heading to the area after the massive explosion to evacuate the wounded.

“It was a car bomb, which is rare in this region and the car bomb targeted a Barkhane patrol,” said Wassim Nasr, FRANCE 24's terrorism expert. “From local sources, we know that debris from the car flew over three kilometres from impact, which means it was a big bomb. We also heard about gunfire exchanges between the jihadis and French forces. This was not on the spot of the explosion, but a little further north of the town, which means the confrontation of the jihadis was complex and complicated for French forces.”

Read more: France 24