French, Mali forces head toward Timbuktu

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

French and Malian forces are pushing toward Timbuktu, as the two-week-long French military action gathers momentum against the Islamist extremists who have ruled northern Mali for more than nine months.

So far the French forces have met little resistance, though it remains unclear what battles may await. Mali's military is blocking dozens of international journalists from trying to travel toward the fabled desert town/

Timbuktu's mayor is in the capital, Bamako, and he tells The Associated Press he's had no information about the remote town, where phone lines have been cut for days.

The move on Timbuktu comes a day after the French announced they had seized the airport and a key bridge in Gao, one of the other northern provincial capitals under the grip of radical Islamists. French and African land forces also are making their way to Gao from neighboring Niger.

Mali's military says French and Malian soldiers are patrolling Gao, searching for remnants of the Islamists.

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