France says its forces in West Africa have killed or captured more than 20 militants in a forest near Mali's border with Burkina Faso.
A statement by its regional force said air and ground forces were involved. It did not identify the militant group.
A French soldier was killed in the area earlier this month.
Mali suffers frequent attacks by Islamist militants despite a French military operation in 2013 to drive jihadists from northern cities.
A French military spokesman said the militants had been targeted in the Foulsare forest, in the south-west of Gao province.
On Saturday, Mali's National Assembly voted to extend a state of emergency by six months in a bid to quell an upsurge in attacks.
Violence has also intensified in neighbouring Burkina Faso.
In December, 12 soldiers were killed in an attack by militants near Burkina Faso's border with Mali.
In January last year, 29 people, many of them foreigners, died in a attack on a hotel in the capital Ouagadougou.
France, the former colonial power in Mali, has deployed about 4,000 soldiers in the region to fight extremists.