PARIS - France 24
A major French ground offensive got under way in Mali on Wednesday, with French special forces clashing with Islamist fighters in the central Malian town of Diabaly amid reports of rebels hiding in houses among civilians.
Handout photo released on January 16, 2013 by French army showing French armored vehicles making their way north of Bamako, in Mali. ABACA photo
French special forces clashed with Islamist rebels in a central
Malian town just 400 kilometres north of the Malian capital of Bamako on
Wednesday at the start of a major ground offensive in the West African
nation amid mounting fears that jihadist fighters were merging into
Wednesday’s ground fighting came on the sixth day of the French
military intervention in Mali and centred around the town of Diabaly,
which had turned into a rebel stronghold in recent days.
Reporting from Bamako, FRANCE 24’s Catherine Norris Trent said French
special forces had been engaging in combat with Islamist fighters
inside the town.
“From what we understand, Islamist fighters there have been hiding in
some of the houses alongside villagers,” said Norris Trent. “So it’s
more difficult for the French forces to target them without resulting in
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