French helicopters involved in Mali crash were not under IS fire, military says

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An ambush by Islamic State group jihadists did not cause a collision between two French army helicopters which left 13 soldiers dead in Mali, Frances military chief of staff said Friday.

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The Islamic State groups West Africa Province (ISWAP) claimed responsibility for Mondays accident, the heaviest single loss for the French army in nearly four decades.

“Its totally false,” General François Lecointre told Radio France International.

“The truth is that there was a collision during a very complex combat operation,” he said.

“The French army is telling the truth: we owe it to our soldiers and to the families of our dead colleagues.”

ISWAP said its fighters ambushed a French convoy near Indelimane village, in the Menaka area, and opened fire on one of the helicopters that arrived in support.

“After staggering in flight, it then collided with another helicopter, killing 13 Crusaders,” said an ISWAP statement carried on the SITE intelligence group website.

No attack

The general said there was no attack by the jihadists that the army was pursuing near the borders with Burkina Faso and Niger.Read More – Source

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