Three United Nations peacekeepers and one Malian soldier were killed and several others were wounded on Friday in an attack by unidentified assailants in northeastern Mali, the UN’s MINUSMA mission there said.
MINUSMA said the soldiers came under fire during a joint operation in the Menaka region near Mali's border with Niger where raids by militants, some with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS, have spiked over the last year.
It gave an initial toll of four dead, saying several other peacekeepers had been wounded, some critically.
"I condemn in the strongest terms this attack that has once again befallen the MINUSMA force as well as the (Malian army)," UN mission head Mahamat Saleh Annadif said in a statement.
The mission did not specify the nationalities of the soldiers.
On October 26 three Chadian peacekeepers in the UN force were killed when their vehicle hit a landmine and a fourth one later died of his injuries.
Militant groups have exploited the porous borders between Mali and neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso to expand their range of operations, alarming Western powers who fear the growing influence of radicalism in the region.
A 2013 French-led military intervention drove back militants who had seized control of Mali's desert north a year earlier, but they have regrouped and now launch regular attacks against Malian soldiers, UN peacekeepers and civilians.