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A French soldier secures a perimeter on the outskirt of Diabaly, Mali, some 460kms (320 miles) north of the capital Bamako Monday Jan. 21, 2013. French and Malian troops were in the city whose capture by radical Islamists prompted the French military intervention. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

A French soldier secures a perimeter on the outskirt of Diabaly, Mali, some 460kms (320 miles) north of the capital Bamako Monday Jan. 21, 2013. French and Malian troops were in the city whose capture by radical Islamists prompted the French military intervention. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Fierce fighting rages in Mali

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.