On September 24, the Ministry of the Armed Forces of France announced that a French service member had been killed by militants in Mali.
The fallen service member was identified as Corporal Maxime Blasco from the 7th Battalion of Chasseurs Alpins, the French Army’s elite mountain infantry force.
In a statement, the Ministry of Armed Forces said that Balsco was a part of a unit deployed to a forested area near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso on a mission to track down a suspected militant group that had earlier been spotted by a drone.
Balsco was killed when the militants engaged the unit at close range. He was shot by a sniper. According to the ministry’s statement, the gunman who shot Blasco was killed.
Le ministère des Armées adresse ses plus vives condoléances à la famille, aux proches et aux frères d’armes du caporal-chef Maxime Blasco, mort pour la France en combattant des terroristes dans le cadre de l’opération Barkhane, le 24 septembre au Mali. #MPLF pic.twitter.com/s0Xc6Vcy9J
— Ministère des Armées (@Armees_Gouv) September 24, 2021
France has lost more than 50 service members in Mali since launching Operation Barkhane to counter terrorist groups in the Sahel Region in 2014.
In July, President Emmanuel Macron announced that Operation Barkhane would reach its end in the first quarter of 2022.
One of the most recent achievements of the French counterterrorism operation was the killing of Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the leader of ISIS in the Greater Sahara. The terrorist leader was killed last August in Mali’s Dangalous Forest as a result of a drone strike.
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