Thirteen French soldiers have been killed in a helicopter collision during an operation against jihadists in Mali, the French president’s office says.
President Emmanuel Macron expressed “deep sadness” over the biggest single loss of life for the French military since the 1980s.
An investigation has begun into how the two helicopters hit each other.
Thousands of French troops have been deployed in Mali since 2013 after militants overran parts of the north.
Mali’s army has since recaptured the territory but insecurity continues and the violence has spread to neighbouring countries.
France now has 4,500 troops deployed to support the forces of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad against the jihadists.
French Defence Minister Florence Parly vowed that her country would not turn its back on the fight against terrorism after the deadly collision.
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