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Two UN Peacekeepers Killed, 4 Wounded in Mali

FILE: A MINUSMA logistic convoy is pictured in Kidal, Mali February 16, 2017.

A armored United Nations vehicle hit a mine set by suspected jihadis in northern Mali on Tuesday, killing two peacekeepers from Egypt and injuring five others, the U.N. Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said.

An armored vehicle from a U.N. logistics convoy in Mali hit a mine en route from Tessalit, the north-central oasis town in the Sahara, to the central city of Gao, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday.

"According to an initial report, two peacekeepers died of their injuries and five others were seriously wounded as a result of the attack," the mission announced in a press release.

"The victims are all Egyptian nationals," a U.N. official told The Associated Press, speaking anonymously because he is not permitted to talk to the press until the families are informed.

The U.N. Mission in Mali last week renewed its mandate to assist in the battle against Islamic extremist rebels, despite the Malian government's failure to approve the mission's purpose of promoting and defending human rights.

Russia and China abstained from the French-drafted U.N. resolution, which extends the mandate of the mission until June 30, 2023.

Mali’s junta has grown closer to Russia as Moscow has looked to build alliances and gain sway in Africa. The Russian Wagner Group has deployed a team of fighters in Mali.

A European military task force that had been aiding Mali's government in combatting Islamic terrorists formally left last week amid tensions with the country's ruling military junta.

More than 270 peacekeepers have died in Mali, making it the U.N.’s deadliest peacekeeping mission, according to U.N. officials.