PARIS, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The French president's office on Wednesday said a fourth French soldier had been killed in clashes with Islamist insurgents in Mali.
A soldier from the 68th Africa Valbonne artillery regiment died this morning while participating in an operation in eastern Mali, 100 km from Gao, according to the statement.
"President Francois Hollande paid tribute to the sacrifice of the serviceman who achieved with courage and dedication their mission to liberate Mali from terrorist groups," an official statement read.
Since the start of the France-led military operation in Mali on Jan. 11, 4,000 French soldiers have been deployed in the former colony to oust al-Qaida-linked insurgents and help to restore the country's sovereignty.
So far, four servicemen have been killed in Mali.