Heavy fighting for the French Army in rocky mountains of North Mali against Islamist rebels 0403132

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French Armed Forces Operation Serval in Mali

 
 
Monday, March 4, 2013, 04:55 PM
 
Heavy fighting for the French Army in rocky mountains of North Mali against Islamist rebels.
The combat of the French Army in rugged Sahara Desert mountains is growing harder, and there's a rising threat that the militants will turn to suicide bombings, hostage-taking and other guerrilla tactics. The French military struck at Islamist militants dug in along the remote, rocky mountain ranges of northern Mali over the last week, killing scores, a French military spokesman said Friday, March 1, 2013.
     
The combat of the French Army in rugged Sahara Desert mountains is growing harder, and there's a rising threat that the militants will turn to suicide bombings, hostage-taking and other guerrilla tactics. The French military struck at Islamist militants dug in along the remote, rocky mountain ranges of northern Mali over the last week, killing scores, a French military spokesman said Friday, March 1, 2013.
French soldiers stand guard outside the destroyed main market in Gao, March 2, 2013. French soldiers visited the market on Saturday, nine days after it was destroyed during fighting between radical Islamists and Malian and French soldiers.

     

.The week’s operations, conducted with Chadian troops, were a further sign that the French military intervention against the jihadists in Mali, initially viewed as a quick strike, was not winding down soon.

French troops will stay in the West African country of Mali at least until July, amid tougher-than-expected resistance from Islamic fighters, officials have told The Associated Press, despite earlier government promises to begin a quick pullout within weeks.

France's leadership has painted the intervention against al-Qaeda-backed radicals in Mali, which began in January, as a swift and limited one, and said that France could start withdrawing its 4,000 troops in Mali in March and hand over security duties to an African force.

One French diplomat acknowledged this week that a French military presence is expected to remain for at least six months. Two other French officials told The Associated Press that the French will remain at least until July, when France is hoping that Mali can hold elections.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the military campaign.

 

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