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Two French soldiers were killed on Saturday in a military operation in Malis northeastern Kidal region, the Élysée Palace announced.

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The two soldiers died after their armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device on September 5. A third soldier was wounded in the explosion.

French President Emmanuel Macron expresses his “deep respect” for the soldiers “sacrifice” and sends his “sincere condolences to their families and loved ones”, the presidential office said.

France started its military operations in the country in 2013, after Mali asked it to help regain territory seized by Islamist extremists who had hijacked a Touareg rebellion in the countrys northern desert regions the previous year.

The French military succeeded in this initial task – but the jihadist insurgency has since spread throughout Mali and across the border to Niger and Burkina Faso.

Earlier on Saturday, Mali's military junta began talks with opposition groups on Saturday on its promise to hand power back to civilians, after mounting pressure from neRead More – Source