SOLDIERS from the Royal Irish Regiment could be deployed to Mali to train forces in combat against terrorists.
Up to 240 British troops could be deployed to train the Malian military and prepare soldiers from other African countries, while another 90 personnel could provide air support.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman told the News Letter said the no final decisions have been made on which regiments will be sent to the troubled region.
David Cameron arrived in Algeria on Wednesday pledging closer security co-operation in the wake of the hostage crisis that claimed the lives of six Britons.
The Prime Minister said his aim was to help the country “help itself” amid a growing threat from al Qaida-linked terrorists in the region.
Speaking to journalists on the flight to Africa, Mr Cameron said: “The In Amenas attack and the situation in Mali reminds us of the importance of partnership between Britain and countries in the region.”
Mr Cameron is to hold talks with counterpart Abdelmalek Sellal and pay his respects to victims of the hostage crisis during his visit - the first by a UK Prime Minister to Algeria in 50 years.
Some 37 foreigners, at least 10 Algerians and dozens of terrorists died in the attack on the In Amenas gas plant, which is jointly operated by BP, earlier this month.
The Algerian government took the controversial decision to storm the site in the Sahara desert, with Mr Cameron and other world leaders protesting about not being notified in advance.
In his discussions with Mr Sellal and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers, Mr Cameron is expected to stress the need for a “tough, patient and intelligent response” to extremism in the region.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was yesterday forced to deny “mission creep” in the intervention to bolster the government in Mali as he boosted the UK’s role.
Asked to explain to the public why the UK should get involved at all, Mr Cameron replied: “Britain is a very open, international, networked country.
“There are British citizens working all over the world. Britain’s posture in the world therefore should reach out, to have partners, to try and ensure the safety of British people both back at home in the UK but also around the world too.”
Mr Cameron also met staff at the British embassy in Algiers to thank them for their work on the hostage crisis.