In a major development, the French government announced that it has neutralized 50 Al-Qaeda terrorists in Central Mali on Monday.
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“I would like to reveal an operation of great importance which was carried out on October 30 in Mali by the Barkhane force, which was able to neutralize more than 50 jihadists and confiscated arms and material,” French Defense Minister Florence Parly said.
Reportedly, the attack was carried out when a movement of a large number of terrorists was detected in the “three borders area” by a Reaper UAV, where the local administration is fighting AQIM terrorists.
The group was allegedly going to attack an army base in the area.
Emboldened by an ever-stronger will to neutralize the terrorists in the wake of recent attacks, the French Air and Space Force immediately scrambled two Mirage-2000 jets, which crossed over the Mediterranean to pound the terrorists, the defense minister informed.
A UAV was also used in the attack, which experts speculate, would be the MQ-9 Reaper operated by the service.
The Mirage-2000 jets have proved to be the world’s most combat-friendly aircraft and have many remarkable achievements since its inception.
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French Mirage 2000s were used during the Gulf War where they flew high-altitude air defense for USAF U2 spy aircraft, as well as in UN and NATO air operations during the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War.
When Pakistan bought F-16s from the United States, the Indian Air Force was quick to look for its alternatives and ordered the Mirage-2000s for its Air Force.
An internal assessment of the Mirage 2000 was then carried out and the Indian Government felt that the French plane was more advanced and had a superior response to the F-16s that the US was to supply to Pakistan.
The aircraft is one of the few aircraft credited to score successful air-to-air kill of an F-16 when a Greek Mirage-2000 shot down a Turkish F-16D with a Magic-II missile near Chios Island.
The Mirages in Indian service proved to be quite potent, and are considered to be the most reliable multirole aircraft for any situation.
It was claimed to be a ‘game-changer’ for the IAF fleet in the Kargil war when for the first time in the history of IAF it had dropped Laser-Guided bombs on enemy bunkers.
Since then, the Indian Mirages have undergone extensive overhaul sporting upgraded avionics and newer weapons package, including MICA air-to-air missiles. The aircraft was recently seen deployed in Ladakh carrying these missiles.
Most notably, the aircraft’s true test came when it was used to drop Israeli Spice-2000 bombs on alleged terrorist strongholds in Pakistan, during the famous 2019 Balakot airstrike. The recent strikes by the French Air Force in Mali could also alert the Chinese PLA, against whom India has deployed the multi-role jets in Ladakh.