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Two French soldiers killed in bomb attack in Mali

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By Euronews
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A French soldier stands inside a military helicopter during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to the troops of Operation Barkhane.on May 19, 2017.
A French soldier stands inside a military helicopter during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to the troops of Operation Barkhane.on May 19, 2017.   -   Copyright  Christophe Petit Tesson, Pool via AP
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Two French soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Mali on Saturday, just days after three others died in a similar way.

The two soldiers were taking part in an intelligence mission in Menaka, in northeastern Mali, when their vehicle was hit by an IED. A third soldier was wounded but is stable, President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.

Macron said he "shares the grief of their families, loved ones and brothers in arms and assures them of the gratitude and solidarity of the Nation."

"The President of the Republic reaffirms France's determination in its fight against terrorism," the statement added.

The deaths of Corporal Loic Risser and Sergeant Yvonne Huynh brings to five the number of French soldiers who have lost their lives in Mali over the last week.

Three soldiers died in a similar fashion on December 28 in Hombori, in southeast Mali.

France has 5,100 troops deployed across the Sahel area as part of its Operation Barkhane against extremist groups. Since its launch in 2014, 50 French soldiers have lost their lives.

General Dominique Trinquand is the former head of the French military mission at the UN. He told Euronews that the problem isn't that too many lives have been taken during the operations, but the problem is that "jihadists know perfectly what the plan is, and the plan is that after one year of search in Mali, there are discussions about reducing the enforcement of the force and reorganising the force." According to him, jihadists are putting pressure on the military to leave by killing soldiers.

To watch the full interview with General Dominique Trinquand, click on the media player above.

European Council President Charles Michel has paid tribute to the two fallen soldiers.

"Europe as a whole bows down to the sacrifice of these young people killed far away from home and who, by protecting peace and stability in the Sahel, also strengthen our security in Europe," he wrote on Twitter.