BAMAKO/PARIS, Jan 16 (Reuters) – French troops launched
their first ground assault against Islamist rebels in Mali on
Wednesday in a broadening of their operation against
battle-hardened al Qaeda-linked fighters who have resisted six
days of air strikes.
France has called for international support against Islamist
insurgents it says pose a threat to Africa and the West,
acknowledging it faces a long fight against the well-equipped
militant fighters who seized Mali’s vast desert north last year.
MONTREUIL, France (Reuters) – Maiga Cousmane doesn’t speak French. He has no money and still no place to live, three months after escaping the chaotic north of Mali, crossing the Algerian border and arriving by boat to France, where he made it to the capital.
But the 23-year-old in leather jacket and jeans feels slightly less adrift among his countrymen in the Paris suburb of Montreuil, often called “Little Bamako” and home to the bulk of France’s 100,000 Malian immigrants.
BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – French ground troops and Malian army forces encircled Islamist fighters in the central Malian town of Diabaly on Wednesday, military sources said, as France prepared to launch its first ground assault on the rebels.
France, which has warned that Islamists’ seizure of Mali’s desert north last year represented a threat to the security of the West, moved a column of armored vehicles on Tuesday into position at the nearby town of Niono, some 300 km (190 miles) from the dusty riverside capital Bamako.
BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels launched a counter-offensive on Monday in central Mali after four days of air strikes by French warplanes on their strongholds in the desert north, promising to drag France into a long and brutal Afghanistan-style ground war.
France intensified its air raids on Sunday using Rafale aircraft and Gazelle attack helicopters to pummel training camps at the heart of the vast area seized by rebels in April, while pouring hundreds of troops into the capital Bamako.
BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war.
France intensified its air raids on Sunday using state-of-the-art Rafale planes and Gazelle attack helicopters to pummel training camps at the heart of the vast area seized by rebels in April, while pouring hundreds of its ground troops into the capital Bamako.
PARIS/BAMAKO (Reuters) – The French air force carried out an air strike in Mali on Friday in support of government forces trying to push back Islamist rebels, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.
The raid came as France launched a military intervention in the west African state to help the government resist a push south by rebel forces.
PARIS/BAMAKO, Jan 11 (Reuters) – France’s armed forces began
a military intervention in Mali on Friday to help the government
stem a push south by Islamist rebels who control much of the
north, President Francois Hollande said.
“French forces brought their support this afternoon to
Malian army units to fight against terrorist elements,” Hollande
told reporters. “This operation will last as long as is
PARIS/BAMAKO (Reuters) – France would intervene to stop any further drive southward by Islamist rebels in Mali, President Francois Hollande said on Friday, as Malian soldiers launched a counter-offensive to wrest back a key town captured by militants this week.
Western powers are worried the alliance of al Qaeda-linked militants that seized the northern two-thirds of Mali in April will seek to use the vast desert zone as a launchpad for international attacks.
PARIS, Jan 10 (Reuters) – India is ironing out contract
details on a purchase of French Rafale fighter jets that has
been under negotiation over the past year, India’s foreign
minister said during a visit to Paris on Thursday, suggesting
that a deal could be close.
India chose Dassault Aviation’s Rafale for a
possible 126-plane order in January 2012 ahead of the competing
Eurofighter Typhoon and started
exclusive talks, lifting hopes in France of a sale that would
restore the lustre of its aviation industry.
PARIS, Jan 9 (Reuters) – French shoppers burst through the
doors of one of Paris’ most emblematic department stores on
Wednesday as bargain-hunters sought out markdowns of up to 60
percent at the start of winter sales.
Against the backdrop of a badly stalled economy, a few
hundred hopeful shoppers had waited outside Galeries Lafayette
on Boulevard Haussmann in central Paris in the grey early
morning, before the main doors were thrown open and the crush of
people quickly moved inside.