NATO: French flag half-mast

The flags of France are at half-mast outside NATO Headquarters to honour the fallen French soldiers in Mali.

Thirteen French soldiers were killed in Mali when their helicopters collided at low altitude as they swooped in at nightfall to support ground forces engaged in combat with Islamist militants.

A Tiger attack helicopter crashed into a Cougar military transport mid-air as it manoeuvred to engage the militants, who were fleeing on motorbikes and in pick-up trucks.
The two aircraft collapsed not far from each other, killing everyone on board including six commandos and an officer.

It is the heaviest toll in a single combat operation since 1986 when a French sea surveillance plane crashed into a mountain in northern Djibouti with the loss of 19 soldiers.

Estonia is one of the Allies of France, expressing it profound condolences. It is also
about to commit 160 military personnel to international operations, along with 234 service members to readiness units, next year. This includes a continued contribution to the French-led anti-insurgency Operation Barkhane, in the West African country of Mali, for which 95 personnel will be assigned. The Barkhane contingent will increase from 50 to 95 troops, and special operations forces will be deployed.

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