ISIS claimed responsibility on Thursday for an attack on a military camp in Niger near the border with Mali on Tuesday, according to a statement issued by a branch of the militant group in the region.
ISIS West Africa Province (ISWAP) said the attack killed at least 100 soldiers and injured many others, while a Niger army spokesman said on Wednesday that 71 soldiers were killed.
Extremists with links to ISIS and al-Qaeda have mounted increasingly lethal attacks across West Africa's Sahel region this year despite thousands of regional and foreign troops being sent to counter them.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou agreed on Thursday to propose a postponement to early 2020 of a meeting of Sahelian country leaders due to take place in France this month, the French presidency said.
The decision to postpone the event, which was to address French military presence in the region as well as the fight against extremist organizations, follows the attack on the military camp in Niger in the deadliest raid against the Nigerien military in living memory.
The two leaders agreed to postpone the summit initially scheduled on Dec. 16 in the French southern town of Pau with the participation of the heads of state of Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania.
Macron has said he expects West African leaders to make it clear that they want and need France’s military help despite the anti-French sentiment expressed by some protesters.
France’s operation in West and Central Africa is its largest overseas military mission, with 4,500 personnel.