Yemeni soldiers brandish their weapons as they take part in an offensive against extremists in the southern province of Shabwa, on May 7, 2014. AFP PHOTO/STR
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A French soldier has been killed in northern Mali as France prepares to deploy thousands of its troops across the region to better fight Islamist militancy, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday.After being scattered across Mali and into neighbouring countries, they have now regrouped and stepped up operations in recent months, Le Drian said after announcing the death.France is particularly worried by the situation in Libya where more than two-and-a-half years after the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, the oil-rich North African state is struggling to contain violence between rival forces and Islamist militants are gaining ground in the south.French defence officials say the new phase in operations will allow their forces to operate freely across borders to strike militants. French forces will now be based in four regional centres.
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