Fierce fighting rages in Mali

Associated Press
This picture released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) shows a French Mirage 2000 D aircraft refueling while flying to N'Djamena overnight January 11 to 12, after taking off from the French military base of Nancy. The battle to retake Mali's north from the al-Qaida-linked groups controlling it began in earnest Saturday, after hundreds of French forces deployed to the country and began aerial bombardments to drive back the Islamic extremists from a town seized earlier this week. (AP Photo/ R.Nicolas-Nelson, Ecpad)

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French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Feb. 21, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces.

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