Operation Serval (Opération Serval) is a French military operation in Mali. These are the preparation videos from the French military prior to the ill-fated mission that led to French Armed Forces personnel being killed. (Maybe they should have concentrated more on preparation and training instead of videos for the mission to be a success)
See also one of today's Featured items about Mali rebels using pretend bullets http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a1e_1358223039). You'd think the French military should have nailed it, but hey, I'm no expert.
The aim of the operation is to stop and ultimately defeat an aggressive Islamic militant rebellion in the north of Mali, which had begun a push into the center of Mali. The operation is named after the medium-sized African wild cat species Serval.
The operation began on 11 January 2013 with French Army Aviation Gazelle helicopters armed with 20 mm cannons from the 4th Special Forces Helicopter Regiment attacking a rebel column near Sévaré.
French forces suffered one casualty when a Gazelle attack helicopter came under small arms fire and one of the two pilots was hit. The pilot, Lt. Damien Boiteux, later died of his injuries.
The other pilot managed to fly the helicopter back to base, but the aircraft was written off as lost due to the damage sustained. By 12 January hundreds of French troops were involved in the military operation in Mali, with special focus in the Battle of Konna.
With their help the Malian army retook Konna, which it had lost a few days earlier. French airstrikes appeared to stop the rebel advance to the south which prompted the intervention and destroyed an Ansar Dine command post near Konna.
France asked the U.S. to speed up its contribution by sending drones to improve surveillance over the vast area of northern Mali. The Pentagon is reported to be studying the French request.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom announced that his country would lend logistical support to the operation.
ECOWAS troops preparing to deploy to Mali also decided to move up their arrival date to 14 January at the latest.
According to Human rights watch, 10 civilians were killed when Malian forces fought to recapture Konna.
On 13 January, French planes bombed the rebel-held town of Gao.
Air-strikes hit a fuel depot and a customs house being used as a headquarters by the Islamist rebels. Dozens of Islamist fighters were reportedly killed.
The following videos have been released by the French military showing preparations for the assault.
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