A French serviceman was killed early on Friday in a clash with an armed militant group in Mali, French officials said.
More than 50 French soldiers have died in the region since Paris deployed a counterterrorism force in 2013 to drive back Islamist militant groups that had seized cities and towns in northern Mali.
According to a statement from the French defense ministry, the soldier who was killed, Maxime Blasco, was part of a French unit deployed to a forested area near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso.
Their mission was to track down a suspected militant group that had earlier been spotted by a drone. The unit was supported by two attack helicopters and a surveillance drone, according to the statement.