Fierce fighting rages in Mali

Associated Press
In this Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, photo provided by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and released Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, a crowd cheers the arrival of French soldiers in Timbuktu, in northern Mali. Backed by French helicopters and paratroopers, Malian soldiers entered the fabled city of Timbuktu on Monday after al-Qaida-linked militants who ruled the outpost by fear for nearly 10 months fled into the desert, setting fire to a library that held thousands of manuscripts dating to the Middle Ages. (AP Photo/French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD), Arnaud Roine)

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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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