French and Malian troops have secured the north Mali town of
Bourem, tightening their control over areas where Islamist
insurgents have been launching guerrilla attacks to harass
the French-led military operation.
French and Malian troops have fought running gun battles with
Islamist rebel guerrillas in the north Mali town of Gao, in
clashes that showed up big gaps in security in a zone
recently recaptured by a French-led military offensive.
French troops have seized the airport in Mali's northern town
of Kidal, the last urban stronghold held by Islamist
insurgents, as they move to wrap up the first phase of a
military operation to wrest northern Mali from rebel hands.
French and Malian troops were restoring government control
over the fabled Saharan trading town of Timbuktu on Sunday,
the latest gain in a fast-moving French-led offensive against
al Qaeda-allied fighters occupying northern Mali.
The United States has agreed to fly tankers to refuel French
jet fighters and bombers attacking al Qaeda-affiliated
militants who have established a foothold in northern Mali,
US defense officials say.
French-backed government forces have advanced into northern
Mali towards the Islamist rebel stronghold of Gao,
recapturing the town of Hombori and forcing al Qaeda-allied
fighters to pull back under relentless French air strikes.
Chadian forces have advanced towards the Malian border as an
African troop deployment and a US military airlift swelled
international support for French operations against Islamist
rebels occupying the north of Mali.
French troops in armoured vehicles have advanced towards a
central Malian town abandoned by Islamist rebels after days
of air strikes, moving cautiously for fear of guerrilla-style
counterattacks by the al Qaeda-linked fighters.