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An organization that monitors jihadi sites says al-Qaida's North Africa branch has claimed responsibility for an attack on a U.N. mission police station in northern Mali that killed 1 Malian soldier

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BAMAKO, Mali — Al-Qaida's North Africa branch has claimed responsibility for an attack on a U.N. mission police station in northern Mali that killed one Malian soldier, an organization that monitors jihadi sites said Saturday.

The group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed credit for Friday's attack in the northern town of Timbuktu in a statement distributed via Twitter and Telegram, SITE Intelligence group said. The statement said three assailants were involved, one of whom detonated a car bomb at the entrance to the police station, a former hotel.

The Timbuktu attack follows recent high-profile assaults by the group in West Africa. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for an attack in November on a luxury hotel in Mali's capital, Bamako, that killed 20 people. Last month, the group said its fighters were behind an attack on a hotel and cafe in the capital of neighboring Burkina Faso that left 30 dead.

On Jan. 15, the day of the Ouagadougou attack, an Australian couple — surgeon Ken Elliott and his wife, Jocelyn — was kidnapped in northern Burkina Faso. In a statement Friday, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for that operation as well, but said it would release the wife, SITE reported.

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