An American newspaper, World Tribune, has revealed that France used of Israeli drones in airstrikes targeting armed Islamists in Mali.
The newspaper quoted officials in the French Ministry of Defence as saying that since the beginning of the military operation in Mali earlier this year, the French army have been using "Harfang" drones, which can fly at medium and high altitudes.
It added that such drones are considered a modified model of the Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), "Heron", manufactured by Israeli Aerospace Industries.
The newspaper also quoted a report by the French Defence Ministry issued on February 8th that the drones conducted their first operations on 18th January.
Furthermore, the newspaper pointed out that the French Ministry of Defence deployed the UAVs in numerous Mali cities, particularly in Douentza and Gao, both of which were captured by armed forces thought to be linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb organization.
According to the French Ministry of Defence, 26 UVAs were deployed over Mali.
France had begun its airstrike on Mali January 11th, 2013 based on a request from Bamako to help the Malian army to stop the rebels' advance south towards the capital and taking advantage of the lack of authority resulting from the military coup last March.