Thirteen French Troops Killed in Mali Operation Against Terrorists

PARIS (Reuters) -
A NH 90 Caiman military helicopter takes off during the regional anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane in Inaloglog, Mali, in 2017. (Reuters/Benoit Tessier/File Photo)

Thirteen French soldiers fighting terrorists in Mali were killed in an accident between two helicopters, the French presidency said on Tuesday, the single biggest loss of French troops in combat in the region since intervening there in 2013.

France has more than 4,500 troops countering Islamist insurgencies in the Sahel region, where violence by terrorist linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State terror group in the sparsely populated area has proliferated in recent years.

“The president announces with deep sadness the death of 13 French troops in Mali on the evening of Nov. 25, in an accident between their two helicopters during a combat mission against jihadists,” the statement from the president’s office said.

The terrorists use central and northern Mali as a launch pad for attacks across the largely desert region.