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Home / Breaking News / 13 French troops killed in helicopter crash in Mali

13 French troops killed in helicopter crash in Mali

Thirteen French soldiers were killed when two helicopters collided during an operation against jihadists in Mali, the French president’s office said.

It’s believed to be the biggest single loss of life for the French military since the 1980s.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “deep sadness” over the incident. An investigation has begun.

In 2013, France deployed thousands of troops to Mali after Islamist militants seized huge parts of the north.

Mali’s army has since recaptured the territory but insecurity there continues and the violence has spread to other countries in the region.

France now has 4,500 troops deployed to support the forces of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad against Islamist militants.

Why the Sahara is terror’s new front line
The Tiger attack helicopter and Cougar military transport collided mid-air on Monday when they were supporting ground forces engaging insurgents near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger.

Among the dead was the son of centrist Senator Jean-Marie Bockel, the politician told the AFP news agency.

“These 13 heroes had only one goal: to protect us,” President Macron wrote in a tweet. “I bow my head to their loved ones and comrades.”

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