French forces have take the control of the airport and key bridge in Gao 2601134

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French Armed Forces Operation Serval in Mali

 
 
Saturday, January 26, 2013, 03:52 PM
 
French forces have taken the control of the airport and key bridge in Gao.
French forces have taken control of the airport and a key bridge in the radical Islamist stronghold of Gao, the French defense minister said Saturday, marking a significant inroad into the heart of territory held by the al-Qaida-linked extremists.
     
French forces have taken control of the airport and a key bridge in the radical Islamist stronghold of Gao, the French defense minister said Saturday, marking a significant inroad into the heart of territory held by the al-Qaida-linked extremists.
French army solkdiers on ERC 90 armoured vehicle in Sevare.
     

French and Malian forces came under fire in the morning from rebels in Gao and continued to face sporadic "acts of harassment" in the afternoon, Burkhard said. He had no immediate estimate available on casualties.

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 destroyed."

The French and Malian forces launched the air and land operation to take Gao's bridge and airport under the cover of darkness overnight, said Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French military spokesman in Paris.

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

     
 

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