French-led troops recaptured the Islamist stronghold of Gao on Saturday, in a major boost to their 16-day offensive against Al Qaeda-linked rebels holding Mali's vast desert north.
Malian soldiers patrol aboard a vehicule mounted with a machine gun in a street of Diabaly (400km north of the capital Bamako) on January 26, 2013. French-led troops Saturday recaptured the Islamist stronghold of Gao in a spectacular boost to a 16-day-old offensive against Al Qaeda-linked rebels holding Mali's vast desert north.
France's Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the nation's troops were also advancing on Timbuktu, another key northern town held by the insurgents.
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