An attack on a military camp in western Niger has left 71 military personnel dead, according to an army statement read on national television late Wednesday.
"The combat (was) of a rare violence, combining artillery shells and the use of kamikaze vehicles by the enemy", he said.
The attack comes at a pivotal moment in the fight against Islamic extremists in the Sahel, as French President Emmanuel Macron, whose own nation lost 13 soldiers in Mali two weeks ago, plans a meeting with leaders of the five-nation G5 Sahel force.
Two separate attacks killed almost 50 Nigerian soldiers in West Africa's Sahel region earlier this year.
Kerik: Son 'OK' After Role in Jersey City Takedown
Surveillance video shows a van moving slowly through the city's streets before stopping in front of the store, Fulop said. Two foot-patrol officers were about a block from the deli, he said, and responded as soon as they heard the gunfire.
The source did not say which group was responsible for the deadly assault.
Army reinforcements were rushed to the scene and the situation on Wednesday was "under control" the defence ministry said, stressing that a search for the assailants was under way, though they had "fled beyond our borders".
In early December, the president of Burkina Faso said that more than a dozen people were killed during a suspected terrorist attack on a Protestant church in Hantoukoura, located in the east of the West African country.
It is believed to be the deadliest raid against the Nigerien military in living memory. French soldiers are deployed in the Sahel to support this effort.
The violence was 30 miles (45 kilometres) from Ouallam, where four US service members died along with four Nigerien soldiers two years ago when their joint patrol came under fire in a massive ambush.