Published: Sat, May 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

French Commandos Die In Operation To Free 4 Hostages In Burkina Faso

French Commandos Die In Operation To Free 4 Hostages In Burkina Faso

Two commandos were killed when French special forces stormed an Islamic State camp in Burkina Faso, rescuing four hostages and shooting dead all four jihadists.

This photo provided Friday May 10, 2019 by the French army shows navy soldiers Cédric de Pierrepont left, and Alain Bertoncello.

The identity of the American and South Korean hostages was not immediately known, but they were both said to be women in the statement.

The operation was ordered to free the French hostages, identified as Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas, who were kidnapped while on safari in Benin.

Picque and Lassimouillas were kidnapped on May 1 while in the neighboring West African country of Benin, according to the Elysee.

Four kidnappers were killed in the raid, the French army said, adding that the U.S. military had provided intelligence.

"The precise and determined actions of French soldiers allowed us to take out the kidnappers while protecting the lives of the hostages", France's army chief said in a separate statement.

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Iranian president Hassan Rouhani called for the country to "resist and unite" and accused the USA of waging a "war on hope". They said the threats were against the U.S. forces in Iraq and came from Iran and its "proxy forces".

French President Emmanuel Macron issued a statement Friday offering his condolences to the two commandos' loved ones. The American, whom Parly said was a woman, was expected to be repatriated separately.

French military commanders judged that Thursday night's stop in northern Burkina Faso by the gang was the last opportunity to intervene before the hostages were taken into Mali and transferred to an Islamist militant group there.

Two French soldiers died in shots fired at close range by the hostage-takers.

"We reaffirm our solidarity with the people of Burkina Faso and Benin in the face of these threats", she said.

The U.S. State Department, in a travel advisory issued in early April, warned Americans to "reconsider travel" to Burkina Faso as "terrorist groups continue plotting attacks and kidnappings. and may conduct attacks anywhere".

Three days later, the badly-disfigured body of their guide was discovered in the park, while the charred remains of their white Toyota jeep was found over the border in eastern Burkina.

In February, Burkina Faso said militants were increasingly active in West Africa and instability in the Sahel was spreading to coastal countries such as Benin and Ivory Coast.

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