France says fifth soldier killed in Mali fighting

March 17, 2013 11:45

PARIS - A fifth French soldier was killed in the nine-week-old military campaign against Islamist rebels in Mali, the French government said on Sunday.

The corporal from the 1st Marine infantry regiment of Angouleme was killed in action, President Francois Hollande's office said in a statement, without giving details.Dozens of Islamist fighters linked to al-Qaida have been killed as French and African forces have fought to drive them out of the northern region of Mali they have controlled since last April.

France launched a ground and air operation in January to break the Islamist rebels' hold on the region, saying militants posed a risk to the security of West Africa and Europe.

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