Paris/Bamako: More than 50 Al-Qaeda terrorists have been killed in a French airstrike in Mali. Defence Minister Florence Parly informed that the operation was part of Operation Barkhane, launched by France in the Sahel region of Africa. The move is significant given the terrorist attacks in France and other parts of Europe. The media has claimed that the air raids are an attempt to retaliate against terrorist attacks in France.
Last week, France launched airstrikes near the borders of Central Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Defence Minister Parly said over 50 militants were killed in operation, which was carried out with the help of Mirage jets and drones. A few terrorists were arrested, and a large cache of arms was seized during the operation as well. The French minister also asserted the action in Mali was a significant blow to Al-Qaeda.
Terrorist attacks have intensified in the Sahel region of West Africa over the past few years. In 2012, terrorist groups had attempted a coup in northern Mali but had failed. However, terrorist groups took advantage of the instability that followed. Insurgent groups linked to the ISIS and Al-Qaeda have begun striking militaries of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The attacks have claimed the lives of more than 500 soldiers. The French forces stationed in the Sahel region have also lost many of their troops in the conflict.
As a result, France has also become more aggressive, and counter-terrorism operations have gained momentum in the past few months. French President Emmanuel Macron, therefore, announced the deployment of additional troops. Along with France, the United States and other European countries have initiated steps to combat terrorism in the Sahel region.