French commandos killed freeing hostages in West Africa

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The US military supported the French-led operation to free the four hostages, according to two US officials.

The three will fly to a military airport outside the French capital on Saturday evening where they will be welcomed by President Emmanuel Macron.

Rescued hostages, two French citizens and one South Korean, attend a news conference by Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Alpha Barry at the presidency in Ouagadougou. The American, who has not been identified, was being repatriated separately.

Hostages freed by French commandos from militants in Burkina Faso offered their condolences on Saturday to the families of the two French soldiers killed in the rescue operation.

President Emmanuel Macron congratulated "the French armed forces for the liberation of the hostages, and includes everyone who worked alongside them", the government statement said. They expressed regret over what happened and French officials say their captors were "terrorists" who planned to transport them to an Al Qaeda affiliate in Mali.

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Mr Macron has announced a national tribute will be held next week in Paris in honour of the soldiers.

Two French soldiers were killed in the overnight raid, which was supported by United States intelligence, reports Reuters.

The U.S. State Department warns Americans to "reconsider travel" to Burkina Faso as "terrorist groups continue plotting attacks and kidnappings. and may conduct attacks anywhere".

Speaking to Europe 1 radio, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian repeated warnings to French citizens against travelling to northern Benin.

The disfigured body of their guide was found shortly after they were reported missing, along with their abandoned Toyota truck.

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French Special Forces carried out the raid under cover of dark over the night of Thursday-Friday, supported by USA intelligence and troops from France's Barkhane operation deployed in the Sahel region to counter Islamist militants.

The other two liberated hostages had apparently already been in the kidnappers' hands for 28 days, General Lecointre said.

Macron thanked authorities in Burkina Faso and Benin for their cooperation and promised them support in fighting terrorism.

The raid resulted in the death of two French soldiers.

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