A French Special Forces sergeant, Nicolas Mazier, has been reported killed following a terrorist assault in Iraq on August 28, marking the third French military personnel casualty in the country within a fortnight. The French authorities confirmed the incident on Tuesday, revealing minimal details as per protocol, but noted that the attack occurred during a reconnaissance mission approximately 100 km north of Baghdad. Iraqi media sources identified the location as Al-Aith island on the Tigris, where jihadists targeted a joint Iraqi-French commando operation, resulting in injuries to four other French soldiers. The incident, orchestrated by the Islamic State (IS) group, follows two recent accidental deaths of French soldiers in Iraq.
U.S. Central Command extends our heartfelt condolences to our French Coalition Partners for the loss of Sergent Nicolas Mazier who died during a mission in Iraq. @EtatMajorFR @CEMA_FR pic.twitter.com/gQhwvbve8v
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) August 29, 2023
This latest fatality underlines the renewed military alliance between France and Iraq.
For years, France has been actively involved in the Iraqi-Syrian region, primarily through “Operation Chammal,” initiated in 2014, involving roughly 600 troops (excluding the undisclosed number of special forces in “Task Force Hydra”).
This operation encompasses training Kurdish and Iraqi forces and providing aerial support for the US-led international coalition Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). Recently, efforts have been made by Paris to revitalize its bilateral ties with Baghdad, a move underscored by the first overseas visit of armed forces minister Sébastien Lecornu following the military planning law’s approval in Parliament.
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