France's military command has announced the first drone strike carried out by its forces, which ocurred during counter-jihadist operations in Mali at the weekend, just two days after testing had finished on the remotely-piloted Reapers for armed operations.
French defence minister Florence Parly said Tuesday that the country's armed forces are to begin using drones for combat missions for the first time, on top of current surveillance missions, ending debate about pilots operating at a great distance from the battle ground.
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Following a similar programme in The Netherlands, the French army has successfully trained Golden eagles to bring down small drones after multiple security alerts involving flights of the radio controlled miniature aircraft over sensitive locations, including the Elysée Palace and nuclear power stations.
French authorities have reportedly trained for the possibility of drones being used to disperse chemical or biological weapons over crowds.
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Officers chased one drone to the east of the French capital where several men were spotted recovering the aircraft before fleeing in a car.
The arrests, which are not thought to be linked to the night-time flights over Paris, came after police saw drone flying in the west of the city.
At least five drones were again seen over centre of French capital as police launched investigation into flights over 'prohibited zones'.
Special investigation team set up after the unmanned aircraft flew over the US Embassy, the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks in French capital.
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The trio are 'unconnected' to other flights while sources say there may have been more than the 13 drone incidents cited at EDF nuclear plants.
The two men and one woman in their early twenties were detained with at least one drone near a nuclear power station, say officials.