Two French soldiers die from injuries after blast in Mali

Two French soldiers died from injuries they sustained in a blast that killed one of their colleagues during an anti-terrorism operation in Mali, the Elysee palace and Defence Ministry said Wednesday.

The soldiers were travelling in their armored vehicle near Tessalit in northern Mali on Tuesday when a mine exploded, the Elysee said.

The French Defence Minstry said one of the three, from the 511th transport regiment, died Tuesday. The other two were seriously injured and transported to a French medical field hospital in Gao, where they later died.

The Malian Defence Ministry confirmed the three deaths.

"We greet the support of France, deplore these deaths and present our condolences to our French friends," Colonel Diarran Kone from the ministry told dpa.

The convoy in which the French soldiers were travelling was believed to have transported logistics materials, according to reports in Mali.

The soldiers were part of France's ongoing Operation Barkhane, a counter-insurgency effort aimed at supporting troops from five Sahel-region countries in the fight against Islamist terrorism.

Seven French soldiers have died since the start of the operation in August 2014.

In a statement, President Francois Hollande said he "addresses his condolences to the families and loved ones, and assures them of the full solidarity of the nation in these painful circumstances."

Last update: Wed, 13/04/2016 - 12:47

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