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Mali: Islamists seize town, France fights back

January 15, 2013

ISLAMISTS have seized control of a town in a fresh attack on Mali’s government-held south and vowed to strike ‘‘at the heart’’ of France as it waged a fourth day of air strikes against them.

French warplanes hit Islamist positions in Douentza, 800 kilometres north of the capital, residents reported on Monday, after bombing munitions and fuel stockpiles as well as bases in the key cities of Gao and Kidal over the weekend.

Residents of Douentza said Monday’s air strikes had destroyed the headquarters of the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), who had fled their positions by the time the French struck.

‘‘ It was destroyed but the Islamists were not there,’’ said one resident.

After clashes with Malian soldiers, the Islamist rebels on Monday seized the town of Diabaly, some 400 kilometres north of the capital Bamako.

SMH

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