The UN's MINUSMA force said one of its peacekeepers had been killed in Saturday's four-hour rocket, mortar and car bomb attack at international troops' "Super Camp" neighbouring Timbuktu's airport. Seven others were wounded along with two civilians.
France said seven of its soldiers were hurt, lowering an initial toll from Malian authorities who had said a dozen French troops were wounded.
Some of the assailants, who have yet to be identified, came disguised as peacekeepers in order to sow confusion among troops trying to repel the attack.
MINUSMA head Mahamat Saleh Annadif praised the peacekeepers who "valiantly repulsed in close coordination with the international forces" this "massive and far-reaching attack".
"This attack illustrates once again the cowardice for terrorist groups in the face of which the United Nations and their partners continue to stand opposed with unfailing determination," he said in a statement.
UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix deplored the assault on Twitter, vowing: "Our determination to support peace in Mali remains unshakeable."
French military spokesman Patrik Steiger said the attackers had "failed in their objective of causing the maximum damage possible".
"Around 15 (attackers) were killed," he added, some of them outside the military camp's outer walls.
"Some attackers managed to enter, including some disguised as peacekeepers," he said, adding that friendly fire was not involved.
Mali's security ministry said Saturday the assailants had tried to detonate two car bombs, one of them a vehicle in the colours of the Malian armed forces and the other carrying the UN logo.
The first exploded while troops managed to immobilise the second, the ministry said.
The French military said there had been three car bombs.