Thirteen French soldiers died after two helicopters collided in Mali on Monday, the French president’s office said.
The troops had been deployed to Mali to assist in combatting jihadists in Northern Africa. More than 4500 troops are involved in the operation to restore peace and re-capture towns seized by Islamist militants. The soldiers have bases in Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Mali.
Although the circumstances surrounding the incident were not immediately established, the French defence ministry said a Cougar military transport and a Tiger attack helicopter collided.
A master corporal and six officers were among those killed in the crash.
French President Emmanuel Macron sent his condolence saying he was deeply saddened by the tragic incident. “These 13 heroes had only one goal: to protect us, I bow to the pain of their loved ones and comrades.” he wrote in a tweet.