PARIS (AP) — A blast in northern Mali has killed a French soldier and wounded three other troops, officials said Sunday.
The death on Saturday brings to five the number of French troops killed since they launched the military operation on Jan. 11 against jihadist fighters who had seized control of large parts of northern Mali.
Francois Hollande on Sunday expressed his "great sadness" at the death of Cpl. Alexandre Van Dooren, who died in a Saturday blast in the northern province of Kidal. Three other soldiers were seriously wounded in the explosion, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said in a statement.
Hollande praised the determination and courage of French forces in what he described as the "the final, and most delicate, phase of their mission."