Mali-based Islamists pledge attacks on French soil
Islamist fighters in northern Mali have pledged to strike “at the heart” of France, after a joint Malian-French offensive – which has entered its fourth day – began pushing back al Qaeda linked rebels controlling the region.
Malian and French soldiers, backed by heavy French military air support, pushed back rebel fighters from the central town of Konna over the weekend, while a dozen French fighter planes, including four Rafale jets, hit rebel targets in the cities of Gao and Kidal, deeper in the country’s rebel-held north. Residents in Gao said French air raids had struck bases and destroyed weapons depots.
Nevertheless, Malian soldiers continued to struggle against well-equipped Islamist militants, who on Monday seized control of the small, central town of Diabaly, putting them 350 kilometres (220 miles) from the capital Bamako.