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US News 13 French soldiers killed in Mali helicopter collision

15:35  26 november  2019
15:35  26 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Thirteen French soldiers have been killed in a helicopter collision during an operation against jihadists in Mali , the French president's office says. President Emmanuel Macron expressed "deep sadness" over the biggest single loss of life for the French military since the 1980s.

Thirteen French soldiers have died in an accident involving two helicopters during an operation against jihadists in Mali , French President Emmanuel Macron's office said Tuesday.

The mid-air collision involved a model of the Tiger helicopter, seen here in this picture taken in northern Mali on November 8 © MICHELE CATTANI The mid-air collision involved a model of the Tiger helicopter, seen here in this picture taken in northern Mali on November 8

Thirteen French soldiers were killed in Mali when two helicopters collided during an operation against insurgents in the country's restive north, officials said Tuesday, the heaviest single loss for the French military in nearly four decades.

The accident occurred late Monday while the helicopters were reinforcing ground troops pursuing the insurgents in the Liptako region, near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger, the defence ministry said.

It brought to 41 the number of French troops killed in the region since they were first sent to Mali in 2013 and again highlighted the challenge for France of operating in a dangerous area the size of Western Europe.

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Thirteen French were killed on Monday in a helicopter accident during an operation against jihadist militants in northern Mali , the heaviest single loss for the French military in nearly four decades… French soldiers work on a Tiger attack helicopter at a base in Gao, northern Mali , on August 1, 2019.

BAMAKO, MALI - Two helicopters collided in midair and killed 13 French soldiers fighting Islamic extremists in Mali , France said Tuesday, in its biggest loss since its mission in West Africa's Sahel region began in 2013. The deaths draw new attention to a worrying front in the global fight against

Mali has been besieged by Islamic extremists carrying out deadly strikes against army outposts and other targets in recent weeks, a flare-up of violence despite years of efforts to stem the attacks.

A Tiger attack helicopter collided with a Cougar military transport helicopter while engaging the insurgents fleeing on motorbikes and in pick-up trucks.

Both aircraft crashed not far from each other, killing all on board, the ministry said.

One of the victims was the son of French Senator Jean-Marie Bockel, a centrist and former government minister who sits on the senate's armed forces committee, the father confirmed to AFP.

"These 13 heroes had just one goal: To protect us. I bow my head in front of the pain of their families and comrades," President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter.

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Thirteen soldiers have been confirmed killed following a collision between two French military helicopters during a raid on jihadists in Mali . It is the single greatest loss of military personnel since France intervened in 2013. “The president announces with deep sadness the death of 13 French

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) – Two helicopters collided in midair on a moonless night and killed 13 French soldiers fighting Islamic State group-linked extremists in Mali , France said Tuesday, mourning its highest military death toll in nearly four decades. The deaths draw new attention to a worrying front in

- 'Share your bereavement' -

a close up of a map: Map of Mali where French soldiers were killed after two helicopters collided. © AFP Map of Mali where French soldiers were killed after two helicopters collided. Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said the soldiers had died for Mali and all Sahel countries, as well as for France. 

"The loss is heavy but the peoples of the Sahel share your bereavement," he said in a letter to Macron.

Macron promised new measures "in the coming weeks" to bolster the fight against the Islamic insurgency in the Sahel, after receiving the presidents of Mali, Chad and Niger at the Elysee Palace.

France's 4,500-member Barkhane force in Mali and four other West African countries is tasked with building up and training local security forces but also participates in operations against the insurgents.

Former president Francois Hollande, who took the decision to send troops to Mali in 2013 to drive back a sudden advance by Islamic insurgents, said "today France is in tears" for soldiers "who were fighting with courage against terrorism."

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Thirteen soldiers from France's Barkhane force in Mali were killed when two helicopters collided during an operation against jihadists in the country's Defence ministry sources said a Tiger attack helicopter collided with a larger Cougar military transport helicopter . 13 soldiers from France's

BAMAKO, Mali — Two helicopters collided in midair on a moonless night and killed 13 French soldiers fighting Islamic State group-linked extremists The military said the helicopters were flying very low when they collided and crashed in Mali ’s Liptako region near Niger while supporting French

Yet French officials acknowledge that local security forces remain woefully under-equipped and under-financed for shouldering the anti-jihadist fight despite years of French engagement.

Such warnings have given grist to critics who say France risks becoming bogged down in a fight it cannot win without significant new investments in soldiers and material.

While most parties back the Barkhane operation, the far-left France Unbowed party called on the government Tuesday to open a "serious and rational discussion to consider the ways out of this war."

- Daunting fight -

The accident, the deadliest for French forces in Mali since 2013, brings to 38 the number of French soldiers killed in the country, and 41 in the Sahel region in total.

a view of a city: Mali has been under siege by Islamic extremists carrying out deadly strikes against army outposts and other targets in recent weeks © Souleymane AG ANARA Mali has been under siege by Islamic extremists carrying out deadly strikes against army outposts and other targets in recent weeks It was the heaviest loss for the French army since the 1983 attack on the Drakkar building in Beirut, claiming the lives of 58 paratroopers.

An inquiry has been opened into the cause of the mid-air collision, Defence Minister Florence Parly said in a statement.

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Thirteen French soldiers died in Mali when their helicopters collided as they hunted in the dark for Islamist militants More than 200 soldiers from regional nations and international peacekeepers have been killed since September in Mali alone, with dozens more killed in Burkina Faso.

BAMAKO, Mali - Two helicopters collided in midair on a moonless night and killed 13 French soldiers fighting Islamic State group-linked extremists in Mali , France said Tuesday, mourning its highest military death toll in nearly four decades. The deaths draw new attention to a worrying front in

Mali has sustained a wave of insurgency strikes on army outposts and other targets, with more than 50 killed over just a few days in early November.

The strikes came as France announced the death last month of Ali Maychou, a Moroccan leader of the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), and considered the top jihadist leader in Mali.

The GSIM has claimed responsibility for the biggest attacks in the Sahel since its official launch in 2017. 

Mali is just one of the countries in the Sahel region of Africa that have been caught in the eye of the jihadist storm since 2012, along with Niger, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad.

Yet funding for their joint G5 Sahel force, which is supposed to take over from the Barkhane operation, has compounded training and equipment shortfalls.

Since January, more than 1,500 civilians have been killed in Mali and Burkina Faso, and more than one million people have been internally displaced across the five countries -- more than twice the number of persons displaced in 2018, the UN said this month.

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