PARIS (Reuters) - A third French soldier was killed in northern Mali fighting Islamist rebels alongside African troops, the French government said on Sunday.

France's defense ministry said that 26-year-old Corporal Cedric Charenton was killed late on Saturday in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains bordering the Algerian border.

Chad's army said this week that it killed two regional al Qaeda commanders in the area: Mokhtar Belmokhtar and Adelhamid Abou Zeid.

The joint force is hunting down pockets of al-Qaeda-linked insurgents after a seven-week French-led campaign to break Islamist domination of Mali's north.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Louise Ireland)