Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

French airstrikes push back Islamists in central Mali

SEGOU, Mali — Malian and French troops appeared to recapture two important central Malian towns Monday, pushing back an advance by Islamist militants who have overrun the country's northern half.

French soldiers in armored vehicles rolled through the town of Diabaly, about 275 miles from the capital, Bamako, to cheers from residents.

Islamist fighters overran Diabaly a week ago, the closest they have come to Bamako. Worried that there was little to stop them from rolling into the capital, where many French citizens live, France stepped into the fight.

Suddenly a long-simmering standoff with the Islamist groups holding the north had been transformed into a war involving French forces, the kind of event the West hoped to avoid. U.S. officials have long warned that Western involvement could stir anti-Western sentiment and provoke terrorist attacks, a fear that seemed to be realized when militants stormed a gas facility in Algeria last week, resulting in the deaths of 37 foreign hostages.

Even after French forces entered the fight in Mali, driving back the Islamists would prove more difficult than officials initially suggested. Rather than flee, many of the militants in Diabaly seemed to dig in, taking over homes and putting the civilian population in the crossfire.

But they eventually fled Friday morning, residents said, in the face of the relentless airstrikes.

Militants have also abandoned the town of Douentza, which they held for several months, the Associated Press reported.

French airstrikes push back Islamists in central Mali 01/21/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 21, 2013 10:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shell of Old GM Surfaces in Court Fight Over Ignition Flaw

    Autos

    DETROIT — For eight years, the shell of prebankruptcy General Motors has lingered on in the form of "old GM" — first as a corporate entity and now as an obscure trust designed to settle debts and claims left over from the company's huge financial collapse.

  2. Bucs' Mike Evans motivated by deep ball that got away

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — Bucs receiver Mike Evans had an efficient half of football Thursday night, with six ball thrown his way and five catches for 57 yards in Tampa Bay's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) reaches for a pass as cornerback Ryan Smith (29) defends during training camp earlier this month at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Gerald McCoy: Bucs defense wanted to 'set the tone' vs. Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on 7 carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 win.

    And they were disappointed.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, right, watches practice alongside outside linebacker Lavonte David, left, earlier this month in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. City bus crashes into South Tampa office building

    Accidents

    TAMPA — A city bus veered off the road and crashed into a South Tampa office building on Friday morning.

    A city bus veered off the road and crashed into a South Tampa office at 2503 W Swann Avenue on Aug. 8, 2017. [10News WTSP]
  5. Andrew Gillum saw the sights in NYC with suspected undercover FBI

    Blogs

    WCTV reports:

    Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is speaking out after a new photo has surfaced showing him in New York City with an alleged FBI agent.