Explosive kills at least two U.N. peacekeepers in north Mali

DAKAR, July 5 (Reuters) - At least two United Nations peacekeepers were killed and five severely wounded in northern Mali when a logistics convoy hit an improvised explosive device on Tuesday, the U.N. peacekeeping mission MINUSMA said.

The incident took place on Tuesday morning on the road between the village of Tessalit and the city of Gao, MINUSMA said in a statement.

"According to an initial report, two peacekeepers died from their injuries and five others were seriously injured," it said.

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Insecurity has grown in the West African country since Islamist insurgents who took root in its arid north a decade ago escalated attacks and seized territory.

The militants, some with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, have gained momentum despite the presence of foreign troops and U.N. peacekeepers.

The conflict has killed thousands and displaced millions across the Sahel region south of the Sahara.

MINUSMA - the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali - currently has around 12,200 military personnel deployed in the country.

At least 174 peacekeepers have been killed in hostile acts and more than 420 wounded since August 2013, according to MINUSMA.

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Reporting by Bate Felix; Writing by Sofia Christensen, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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