Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mali: French troops and malian forces started the ground operation to fight islamist rebels


French troops have engaged in close-quarter combat with Islamist fighters on Wednesday in the Malian town of Diabaly in the first ground clashes after days of air strikes, according to security forces.

Earlier, France’s army chief confirmed French troops have begun a ground offensive in Mali.

“The ground operation began several hours ago,” Admiral Edouard Guillaud told Europe 1 radio on Wednesday morning.

French armoured units and Malian government forces set off towards the north from the capital Bamako, supporting airstrikes that began last week.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed that the troops, whose number is set to triple from 800 at present to 2,500 men, faced a long and tough battle against determined fighters whose number he estimated at up to 1,300.

The News: … es/201301161134.html



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