Mali: Two Barkhan helicopters collide, French biggest casualties

Two helicopters collided during a combat operation against Islamic State jihadists in Mali, killing 13 French soldiers from the Barkhan force.

The dead were six officers, six aides and a corporal.

French President Emmanuel Macron called them: "They were killed for France in the difficult fight against terrorism in the Sahel."

The casualties are the biggest for French troops since they intervened in 2013 in Mali, which for years has been the scene of violence by extremist militants.

France has deployed in the Sahel region more than 4,500 troops to counter the armed jihadist organizations that take central and northern Mali as a starting point for their attacks across the desert areas, linked to al Qaeda and ISIS.

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