3rd French soldier killed in intense fighting in Mali's north

A French soldier has been killed in combat in Mali, the third to die in the military campaign to retake the north of the African country from jihadists.

Parachutist Corporal Cedric Charenton was killed Saturday night in an assault in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains, where the jihadists have retrenched as French troops have swept through the country's north.

Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Saturday night's fighting was some of the most violent since the campaign began on Jan. 11. The 26-year-old had already served in Afghanistan, Gabon and New Caledonia.

While the French initially hoped the intervention would end quickly, officials now say French troops will stay in Mali at least until July, as fighting intensifies.