Paris: The French Army, in a raid on a terrorist organisation in Mali, has neutralised at least 30 terrorists, including Hamadoun Kouffa, a prominent jihadist leader, officials said.

“At this stage of the evaluation of the operation, it appears that about 30 terrorists were put out of action, among whom are probably the head of the Katiba Massina, Hamadoun Kouffa, and its main cadres,” Chief of the Defence Staff of France, General Francois Lecointre, said in the statement on Friday.

The raid took place in the Malian region of Mopti, and combined the action of many air assets: Mirage 2000, Tiger and Gazelle helicopters backed by Reaper drones, C135 tanker and manoeuvre helicopters, Xinhua news agency reported quoting the general.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly has hailed the “courageous and effective” action of the soldiers involved in this operation.

“This new success of the French military engagement in the Sahel illustrates our desire to fight relentlessly against terrorism, and it also demonstrates our determination to help Malian authorities in their daily fight to stabilise and pacify their country,” she said.

(This is published unedited from IANS)