French troops pursuing Mali militants killed in helicopter collision

Thirteen French soldiers were killed in Mali when their helicopters collided at low altitude as they swooped in at nightfall…

Thirteen French soldiers were killed in Mali when their helicopters collided at low altitude as they swooped in at nightfall to support ground forces engaged in combat with Islamist militants.

It was the biggest loss of French troops in a single day since an attack in Beirut 36 years ago when 58 soldiers died.

The ground commandos had been tracking a band of militants moving on pick-up trucks and motor-bikes. After identifying the group on Monday, the Tiger and Cougar helicopters were sent to reinforce, along with a combat jet.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “deep sadness” at the loss.

“The President of the Republic salutes with the greatest respect the memory of these soldiers,” the Elysee Palace said in a statement. “He bows to the grief of their families and their loved ones.”

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