U.S., Africa Say Mali Action Counters Growing Islamist Threat -- Reuters
(Reuters) - The United States and African leaders threw their full diplomatic weight on Wednesday behind a campaign to expel Islamist rebels from Mali, as French air strikes harried the al Qaeda-allied fighters in their strongholds.
For nearly two weeks, French jets and helicopters have been hitting carefully selected targets around rebel-held Malian towns such as Gao and Timbuktu, while African troops gather for a planned ground offensive against the Islamist forces.
Last week's bloody seizure of a gas plant in neighboring Algeria by Islamist guerrillas opposing the French action in Mali - in which at least 37 foreign hostages were killed - heightened fears in Africa and the West that Mali's north could become a launchpad for international attacks by al Qaeda.
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More News On The Conflict In Mali
Mali Live Blog -- Al Jazeera
France continues northern Mali airstrikes -- Al Jazeera
Calm Restored After Rebels Flee Malian Towns -- Voice of America
'Everyone will fight': African troops, US airlift join Mali operation -- NBC
Mali army accused of summary killings -- AFP
Witness details killings by Malian forces as human rights group charges dozens of deaths -- Washington Post/AP
Mali Executions: Troops Accused Of At Least 33 Killings -- Huffington Post/AP
'We were so terrified': Jihadists leave trail of destruction, brutality in Mali town -- NBC
Many doubt the Mali army is up to the challenge of fighting the Islamist extremists -- Washington Post/AP
African Force for Mali Could Double in Size -- Voice of America
EU to Play Active Role in Mali Crisis, Foreign Policy Chief Says -- Reuters
Big words, little action in UK's campaign against Sahara jihadists -- Reuters
Mali conflict shakes country's faith in its leaders -- L.A. Times
Mali Advance Shows Paris's Africa Dilemma -- Wall Street Journal
The Malian Front: France Wins First Round of the War, but Now What? -- Alan Boswell, Time