In Niger, military operation is under way near border with Mali, after an attack by unidentified assailants killed three US and five Nigerian soldiers.

Security sources said Nigerien, U.S. and French troops are taking part in the operation.

Three US Army special operations commandos have been killed and two wounded in firing in southwest Niger.

The officials said the commandos were attacked by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb militants.

In a statement, US Africa Command said the US forces are in Niger to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerien Armed Forces in their efforts against violent extremists.

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