A Mauritanian colonel who led a military raid last week on a suspected al-Qaida camp in the neighboring nation of Mali says that 17 people were killed during the operation.
Col. Brahim Fall Ould Cheibani told a news conference Sunday that his men carried out the raid on Friday in the Wagadou region of Mali, a forested area bordering Mauritania.
He says those killed included two Mauritanian soldiers and 15 members of the terrorist cell.
Al-Qaida's African affiliate is known to operate in the deserts and remote forests between the two countries. The group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of dozens of foreigners, as well as a series of attacks on Mauritanian military installations and government buildings.