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Two helicopters crash in Mali killing 13 French soldiers

Christian Fernsby |
France has confirmed that 13 soldiers from its anti-terrorist Barkhane force in Mali were killed after two helicopters collided during an operation in the country's north.

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The Elysee Palace said the incident occurred on Monday evening while the forces were engaging terrorist fighters who have staged a series of deadly strikes in northern Mali in recent weeks.

The victims include six officers and a master corporal.

France has more than 4,500 troops in Africa's Sahel region, which also includes Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad, countering violence from militants linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS.

France's President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “deep sadness” at the news.

He praised the “courage of the French soldiers” in a written statement released on Tuesday.

"These 13 heroes had only one goal: to protect us," Mr Macron wrote on Twitter.

"I bow to the pain of their loved ones and comrades."

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