- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2013

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a northern Mali town — the first known suicide attack in the country since France deployed roughly 4,000 troops.

A Malian military spokesman said the bomber ignited his explosives belt just after 6 a.m. Friday near a military checkpoint in the outskirts of Gao, Associated Press reports. Witnesses report that the terrorist approached soldiers on a motorbike before detonating the device.

The bomber was the only one killed, said the Malian military and residents.

The BBC reports that Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, an al Qaeda offshoot, has claimed credit for the attack.

The bombing comes one day after the United Nations confirmed that it was mulling a decision to begin a peace-keeping mission in the region.