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Eighth French soldier killed in Mali

08/05/2014 12:24
A member of the French Foreign Legion has been killed in a bomb attack in northern Mali, the French Government has said.
On Thursday, the Minister of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian told newsmen that the soldier, who was taking part in an anti-terrorist operation, was killed by a crude bomb that had been planted by Islamist insurgents.
He was the eighth French soldier to be killed since France launched an intervention against Islamist rebels in northern Mali in January 2013.
In a statement, President Francois Hollande expressed respect for the soldier’s sacrifice and sent his condolences to his family.
Le Drian said that the phase of frontal war in Mali was "drawing to a close".
French and Malian forces in 2013 carried out a lightning offensive against al-Qaeda affiliated insurgents, who took advantage of a coup to seize control of the northern half of the country.
Within a month, the rebels had been chased out of most towns but they continued to mount sporadic attacks from their rear bases in the desert.
Around 1,600 French soldiers have stayed behind to lead anti-terrorist operations until Mali's army - which is being trained by a European Union mission - has the capacity to fight the threat alone.

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