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A United Nations peacekeeper on patrol in central Mali. Photo: Sebastien Rieussec / AFP via Getty Images

19 of the 22 people killed by a French airstrike at a Mali wedding earlier this year were unarmed civilians who were "protected against attacks under international humanitarian law," a new United Nations report has found.

Why it matters: The findings that only three of those killed were suspected militants contradict France's claims that the targets in the Jan. 3 strike near the village of Bounti, central Mali, were militants — an assertion French officials stood by after the UN report's release Tuesday.

  • The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali's report recommends that Malian and French authorities conduct "an independent, credible and transparent investigation" into the strike and "possible violations of international humanitarian and human rights law," per a UN statement.
"This strike raises serious concerns about respect for the principles of the conduct of hostilities."
— Excerpt from UN report

What they're saying: France's Defense Ministry insisted in a statement issued in response to the UN that the strike targeted an "armed terrorist group."

  • The ministry accused the UN fact-finding mission of failing to "distinguish credible sources from false testimonies of possible terrorist sympathizers or individuals under the influence of jihadist groups."

For the record: Officials in France have been debating the issue of the country's 5,100-strong troop presence in the West Africa nation, which was under French colonial rule from 1892 until 1960, Bloomberg notes.

  • The airstrike occurred days after five French soldiers were killed in two separate attacks, which were claimed by a branch of Al-Qaeda.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron last month warned against any rapid withdrawal of troops in West Africa's Sahel region amid calls to withdraw forces.

Go deeper

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.

Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.