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By Alastair Jamieson

Five peacekeepers were killed and another six severely wounded Thursday in an attack on a United Nations convoy in northern Mali, officials said.

A patrol with the country’s U.N. peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, was targeted by unidentified armed men at about 9 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET) near Goundam-Tombouctou, about 30 miles southwest of Timbuktu, the organization said in a statement.

The evacuation of the wounded was still ongoing, the statement added.

“I condemn with vigor this new terrorist attack against our peacekeepers,” said Moni Hamdi, U.N. chief of MINUSMA. “Those who are responsible for this vile crime must be identified and brought to justice in a timely fashion.”

Two MINUSMA vehicles were destroyed in the attack, the statement added.

Attack helicopters have also been deployed to Timbuktu to provide aerial support.

The U.N. mission is attempting to stabilize northern Mali, which was occupied by separatist Tuareg rebels and al Qaeda-linked Islamists in 2012 before a French intervention in 2013.

Alexander Smith and Alice Cottle contributed.