Mali’s main extremist groups are joining forces under the leadership of Iyad Ag-Ghali, whose fighters have claimed multiple attacks on UN and French troops in the northern part of the West African nation.
Ansar Dine and Mourabitoun are Al-Qaeda linked groups. In January, Mourabitoun claimed responsibility for an attack in northern Mali that killed 60 people and wounded at least 100 others.
It also claimed the attack on the Radisson Blue Hotel that killed 20 people.
The conflict in Northern Mali started in 2012 and French forces intervened in 2013 and seized jihadist strongholds.
Islamist militants conduct frequent attacks in northern Mali and use it as a base for operations in neighboring countries.