Among those dead is Omar Ould Hamaha, known as 'Red Beard', a commander of armed groups who occupied northern Mali in 2012.
Concern as Islamist groups targeted by France's Operation Serval appear to be regaining footholds despite presence of 6,000 UN troops.
Website has launched a poster campaign called 'We will not be silent, O France' over French intervention in Mali and the Central Africa Republic.
Soldiers from the joint Franco-German military brigade are to operate in a support and training role for forces already in the West African state.
One French soldier was wounded and a weapons cache seized in an operation in northern Mali that left at least 11 suspected Islamist fighters dead.
The Mourabitounes group, formed last August, says it will target the interests of 'France and her allies', according to a Mauritanian website.
Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says 60% of troops will be withdrawn over three months, leaving a force of 1,000 French soldiers.
Deaths come amid new French military operation aimed at pockets of al Qaeda-linked fighters still holding out across the north of Mali.
The Malian, who allegedly shot a US diplomat in Niger in 2000, had escaped jail while serving 20-year sentence for killing four Saudi tourists.
School students in France have resumed their protests over the deportation of Roma schoolgirl Léonarda who was arrested during a school trip. However, this controversial case was not an isolated incident. Under socialist president François Hollande the deportation of school students who have reached the age of majority and lack residence permits has occurred with greater frequency than under his right-wing predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy. Mediapart’s Michaël Hajdenberg gives the background to the deportations and then hears the moving story of a school pupil in France who was arrested this summer on his way to an exam and sent back to Mali five days later.
Group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) says it killed the two French journalists on Saturday in response to France's 'new crusade'.
Foreign minister Laurent Fabius says the killing of two French journalists in Kidal will not affect timetable of the withdrawal of French troops.
French foreign minister said the two radio journalists were shot in a 'cold blooded' assasination, while it was also reported their throats were cut.
The bodies of the Radio France International reporters were found hours after they interviewed a local political leader in Kidal, northern Mali.
French military says it is engaged alongside Malian and UN forces in a "large-scale" operation to prevent a resurgence of "terrorist movements".