Paris residents line up to mourn 13 soldiers killed in Mali

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Soldiers carry the coffins of late thirteen French soldiers killed in Mali, before a ceremony at the Hotel National des Invalides in Paris, France, December 2, 2019. French soldiers Julien Carrette, Benjamin Gireud, Romain Salles de Saint-Paul, Clement Frison-Roche, Nicolas Megard, Romain Chomel de Jarnieu, Pierre Bockel, Alex Morisse, Jeremy Leusie, Alexandre Protin, Antoine Serre, Valentin Duval, Andrei Jouk died in Mali when their helicopters collided in the dark last week as they hunted for Islamist militants. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Soldiers and citizens pay tribute as hearses with the coffins of late 13 soldiers killed in Mali make their way past the Alexandre III bridge before a ceremony at the Hotel National des Invalides in Paris, France, December 2, 2019.REUTERS

Hundreds of Parisians lined the streets of Paris on Monday to pay their respects to 13 French soldiers killed in Mali last week as hearses bearing their flag-draped coffins crossed the heart of the city.

The soldiers died when their helicopters collided in the dark as they hunted Islamist militants. It was the biggest loss of French troops in a single day since an attack in Beirut 36 years ago when 58 soldiers died.

Soldiers carry the coffins of late thirteen French soldiers killed in Mali, their helicopters collided in the dark last week as they hunted for Islamist militants./REUTERS

The deaths in Mali highlight the human cost to France of leading a six-year counter-insurgency campaign in West Africa. It has forced France to reassess its strategy, with no prospect in the immediate term of withdrawing its 4,500 troops from the region.

Soldiers and citizens pay tribute as hearses with the coffins of late thirteen French soldiers killed in Mali make their way past the Alexandre III bridge.

Escorted by police motorcyclists and with soldiers from the military regiments saluting their fallen comrades along the Alexandre III bridge, the 13 hearses solemnly crossed toward the Hotel des Invalides, where President Emmanuel Macron was scheduled to lead tributes at the funeral ceremony.

The bodies of the fallen soldiers returned home on Sunday after a military homage at their base in

 

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