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Mali-focused jihadist media body forms

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February 4, 2014 07:23 AM EST | AP

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A group that monitors jihadist communications says a new Mali-focused jihadist media body has formed to push back against what it describes as flawed reporting on the military situation in the West African country.

The SITE Intelligence Group said Monday the al-Sahel Media Center announced on Twitter and a separate jihadist forum that it was replacing the al-Murabiteen Media Foundation of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, which has operated in northern Mali.

Al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists took over much of northern Mali following a March 2012 military coup, prompting France to intervene in early 2013.

In one of its messages, the al-Sahel Media Center disputed reports extremists had been scattered by France's intervention.

It said the media service was necessary to counter "Arab and Crusader media campaigns."