Fighting between Mali's army and Islamist militants has reignited in the northern Malian city of Gao, local authorities said Thursday, dpa reported.
"Elements of armed groups have managed to seep through the entrance to Gao from Bourem," a councilor at the Gao mayor's office, Astor Bilal, told dpa over the phone.
Shots have been heard in the vicinity of the Town Hall since late Wednesday, he added.
The Islamist insurgents, who had been routed last month from the city, about 1,200 kilometres north-east of the capital Bamako, "managed to infiltrate the (Niger) river," Bilal said.
The clashes come as a French-led international effort to rout Islamist rebel groups from Mali's north enters its sixth week.
A Malian army officer downplayed the scale of the recent clashes.
"These are isolated actions. (The insurgents) are located and surrounded. Now we neutralize," said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Two people were reportedly wounded when a car bomb exploded near a French-Chadian military camp in the northern city of Kidal, French newspaper Le Monde reported.
The Malian army spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.