Saturday, February 9, 2013

French Troops Capture Key Airport in Northern Mali

French forces battling Islamist militants in northern Mali have taken a strategic airport near the Algerian border.
The French defense ministry said Friday that special forces have seized the airport at Tessalit, a small town in Mali's Kidal region, and are moving to secure the town itself with the help of Chadian troops.

The airport would give French-led forces another base in their fight against the militants, who have fled into the Sahara after losing control of northern Mali's major cities.

Fighting continued elsewhere in Mali Friday.  Outside the city of Gao, a suicide bomber driving a motorcycle blew himself up near a military checkpoint.  One soldier was wounded in the blast.

A local journalist, Soumalia Maiga, ran to the scene as soon as he heard the explosion.

He says the explosion happened less than 10 meters from the checkpoint.  He says people in the town are afraid to go to the market and some are even afraid to go to the mosque for Friday prayers.  He says it is impossible to know whether the bomber was trying to hit the checkpoint or was trying to get inside the town.

The French news agency, AFP, reports that the Islamist group MUJAO claimed responsibility for the attack.

continue and read more from VOA News with some nice photos
February 08, 2013

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