Harrowing loss of Afghanistan troops overshadows France's Bastille Day military parade
France's military were out in full force today for Bastille Day, an annual celebration of the storming of the Bastille in 1789 - one of the great symbolic events of the French Revolution.
Thousands of serviceman marched, rode and drove along the Champs-Elysees in Paris as part of the oldest and largest military parade in Europe - but the event was overshadowed by yesterday's devastating deaths of soldiers in Afghanistan, France's biggest one-day troop loss since 2008.
Speaking ahead of the traditional July 14 military parade, French president Nicolas Sarkozy called for a special meeting to discuss new security measures for soldiers in Afghanistan.
A French Rafale jet flies over the Arc de Triomphe flanked by two Mirage 2000-N today during the Bastille Day military parade
French soldiers from the Republican Guard infantry regiment march down the Champs-Elysees during the annual military parade in Paris
France's Republican Guard ride down the Champs-Elysees as part of the traditional parade
'I will convene a security meeting... to reorganise the new security conditions for our soldiers in this period of transition that opens from today and the departure of French troops from Afghanistan,' Sarkozy said.
Five French soldiers were killed after a suicide attack in Afghanistan yesterday, and four others were seriously injured.
Sarkozy said the prime minister, defence minister and the armed forces chief would attend the meeting to take stock of yesterday's attack.
'There is a new context and to face this new context, we need new security measures,' he added.
He did not give more details.
This year's Bastille Day celebrations honoured the French troops deployed overseas and firemen.
The highlights of the parade included the Republican Guard riding down the Champs-Elysees on horseback and fighter jets painting the French Tricolour in the sky with smoke above the Arc de Triomphe.
French air force Alpha Jets (Patrouille de France) paint the French Tricolour in the sky with smoke as they fly over the Arc de Triomphe
Tanks and other army vehicles roll down the Champs-Elysees as part of today's historic parade
Four jets whizz through the sky over Paris today
Earlier, Sarkozy, who visited Afghanistan on Tuesday, detailed his plan to withdraw 1,000 troops by the end of 2012, ahead of a complete pullout in 2014.
Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since U.S.-backed Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban in late 2001. More than 2,500 foreign troops have died in Afghanistan since the war began almost 10 years ago.
Wednesday's attack on the French troops was the worst since 2008 when 10 soldiers were killed and 21 wounded in a battle against Taliban insurgents.
France has 4,000 troops in Afghanistan and has now seen 69 of its soldiers killed since it joined the U.S. and NATO-led Afghanistan operations in 2001.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy listens to the Republican Guards 1st infantry regiment military band before the parade
"Le XV du Pacifique", a French Army rugby union team with soldiers from the French Pacific islands, performs a haka on the place de la Concorde
A chorus from the French territories sings during the Bastille Day parade. This year the French troops deployed overseas and firemen are being honoured
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