France's first drone attack kills seven suspected fighters in Mali | Mali News

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France carried out its first attack with drones, during operations in Mali, in which at least seven suspected combatants died.

In a statement on Monday, the French military command confirmed that the attack took place on Saturday.

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French President Emmanuel Macron previously announced that French forces had "neutralized,quot; dozens of combatants in operations in the central Malopia region of Mopti; In total, at least 40 suspected combatants were killed.

While the French commandos searched the combat zone in the Ouagadou forest, 150 kilometers (90 miles) from the city of Mopti, "they were attacked by a group of motorcycle terrorists," the military statement said.

A Reaper drone and a 2000 Mirage French patrol opened fire to support ground troops, he said.

"This is the first operational attack of an armed drone," the statement said, confirming an earlier report published in the specialized blog Le Mamouth.

The strike came two days after the French army announced that it had finished testing remote-controlled drones for armed operations.

It has three drones located near Niamey, the capital of Niger.

The weekend operation was in an area controlled by Katiba Macina, an armed group founded by Mopti preacher Amadou Koufa.

Two Malian gendarmes who had been taken hostage were released, and French troops confiscated several armed vehicles, motorcycles and weapons, "hitting hard,quot; on the combatants, according to Monday's statement.

Airwars, an organization that oversees civilian victims of international military action, condemned the strike, saying that France had joined "a growing lethal club that includes the United States (2001), Israel and the United Kingdom (2004), and more recently Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Turkey, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. "

France previously said it had killed 25 fighters in two operations in the Sahel this month.

Last month, 13 French soldiers died in a helicopter crash while hunting fighters in northern Mali, the biggest single-day loss to the French army in almost four decades.

France has a force of 4,500 members who has been fighting armed groups in the fragile and extensive Sahel since 2013. Forty-one soldiers have died.