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Saturday, January 26, 2013 

French military in Mali keeps up the battle against the Islamists

And this FOX News report on the issue even calls them "Islamists", amazingly enough:
French forces took control of the airport and a key bridge in the radical Islamist stronghold of Gao under cover of darkness early Saturday, making a significant inroad into territory held by the Al Qaeda-linked extremists.

The move comes just two weeks after France launched its military offensive to rout the Islamists from power in northern Mali. It isn't clear what kind of resistance they will face in coming days

French and Malian forces came under fire in the morning and continued to face sporadic "acts of harassment," in the afternoon, said Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French military spokesman in Paris. He had no immediate estimate on casualties.

The Islamists first seized control of Gao and two other northern provincial capitals—Timbuktu and Kidal—last April during the chaotic aftermath of a coup in the distant capital.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced in a statement from his ministry Saturday that jihadist fighters who encountered the advancing French and Malian troops "saw their means of transport and their logistics sites.

Before the joint air-land operations overnight, French forces carried out "an important phase of airstrikes" around Gao and Timbuktu, with nearly 30 bombs fired from fighter jets over the previous two days, the military said.

[...] Since France began its military operation two weeks ago with a barrage of airstrikes followed by a land assault, the Islamists have retreated from three cities in central Mali: Diabaly, Konna and Douentza. The Islamists, though, have maintained control of the majority of the territory in Mali's north, most importantly the cities of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.
I'm glad to find one article on FOX that's bold enough to call a spade a spade, and acknowledge that these are jihadists the French army in Mali is dealing with.

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