A French soldier has been killed in clashes with fighters in a mountainous region of northern Mali.
The French Defense Ministry released a picture of the slain soldier, identified as Staff Sergeant Harold Vormezeele, on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, in a visit to Athens, French President Francois Hollande spoke to reporters about the incident, saying, "A legionnaire from the 22nd parachute regiment has died in northern Mali.”
On January 12, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement that a French Air Force pilot had been killed in a helicopter attack one day earlier near the central town of Konna.
France launched a war in Mali on January 11 under the pretext of halting the advance of rebel fighters in the country.
On February 1, Amnesty International said "serious human rights breaches” -- including the killing of children - were occurring in the French war in Mali.
Chaos broke out in the West African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government's inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.
However, in the wake of the coup d’état, the Tuareg rebels took control of the entire northern desert region, but the Ansar Dine extremists then pushed them aside and took control of the region, which is larger than France or Texas.