French defence minister visits Mali as France mourns soldiers killed in helicopter crash

France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly arrived in northern Mali on Wednesday, two days after a helicopter collision killed 13 French…

France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly arrived in northern Mali on Wednesday, two days after a helicopter collision killed 13 French soldiers fighting jihadist militants linked to the Islamic State group.

Monday’s crash on a moonless night led to the heaviest single loss for the French military in nearly four decades.
An investigation has begun into the cause. The military has said the helicopters were flying very low while supporting French commandos on the ground near the border with Niger.

France’s operation in West and Central Africa is its largest overseas military mission and involves 4,500 personnel. The deaths draw new attention to a worrying front in the global fight against extremism, one in which France and local countries have pleaded for more support.

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