October 21, 2014
SEVARE, Mali (AP) - More French and African troops and equipment are being sent to an Islamist stronghold in northern Mali in an effort to drive the al-Qaida-linked extremists from power.
French forces took control of the airport and a key bridge in Gao under the cover of darkness this morning.
France's defense minister says the jihadist fighters "saw their means of transport and their logistics sites destroyed." The al-Qaida-linked Islamists first seized control of Gao and two other provincial capitals last April in the chaotic aftermath of a coup in the distant capital.
Since France began its military operation two weeks ago with a barrage of airstrikes followed by a land assault, the Islamists have retreated from three cities in central Mali.
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