United States will provide military support to French Forces for the operation Serval Mali 1401134

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Defence News - United States

 
 
Monday, January 14, 2013, 09:23 PM
 
United States will provide military support to French Forces for the operation Serval in Mali.
The Pentagon is preparing to provide military support to French forces in their new fight against rebel militants in northern Mali, according to senior defense officials. The United States is considering a range of options to help, including sending cargo aircrafts to lift more French ground troops into Mali, providing air refueling tankers for French air combat patrols, and offering intelligence gleaned from aerial surveillance.
     
The Pentagon is preparing to provide military support to French forces in their new fight against rebel militants in northern Mali, according to senior defense officials. The United States is considering a range of options to help, including sending cargo aircrafts to lift more French ground troops into Mali, providing air refueling tankers for French air combat patrols, and offering intelligence gleaned from aerial surveillance.
Two hundred soldiers of French army take a plane to be deployed in Bamako, Mali.
(January 13, 2013)
     

Earlier Monday, Canada announced its intent to send a C-17 military transport plane to assist with the French campaign. The Canadians were careful to say their role will not include direct involvement in the conflict and that the aircraft is on loan for one week.

The French have had concerns in recent days that the whole country would fall into Al Qaeda hands.

The French, who see the destabilized region as a threat to their own national security, began to take military action in recent days to weaken the rebels. French fighter jets conducted air strikes over the weekend targeting militant camps and weapons depots.

Currently the French have less than 500 troops on the ground.

Despite intensive aerial bombardments by French warplanes, Islamist insurgents grabbed more territory in Mali on Monday, January 14, 2013, including a strategic military camp, bringing them much closer to the capital, French and Malian military officials said.


The French military, which began battling the extremists in northern Mali on Friday, expanded its aerial bombing campaign, launching airstrikes for the first time in central Mali to combat the new threat. But the intense assault including raids by gunship helicopters and Mirage fighter jets, failed to halt the advance of the rebels, who now are only 400 kilometers (250 miles) from the capital Bamako, in the far south. Before France sent in its forces on Friday, the closest known spot the Islamists were to the capital was 680 kilometers (420 miles) away, in the town of Konna.

 

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