BAMAKO - Malian fighters from the Ansar Dine Islamist group attacked and burned the tomb of one of the town's saints, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, residents and a regional official said on Saturday.

The militants broke off doors, windows and wooden gates from the grave and burned them, they said, in the first reported attack on a shrine in Mali.

El Hadj Baba Haidara, an elected member of parliament from Timbuktu told Reuters some young people were discussing how to react despite being unarmed.

"There is a risk the people may revolt because this is something that affects their dignity. This tomb is sacred, it is too difficult to bear," Haidara said.

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