First Published: 2013-01-16

 

French troops in Mali pushing north

 

French Defence Minister says troops are making their way to Islamist-held territory a day after launching ground offensive.

 

Middle East Online

PARIS - French ground troops deployed in Mali are pushing north towards Islamist-held territory, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Wednesday, admitting operations were proving "very difficult" in some areas.

"Now French ground troops are making their way north," he told RTL radio a day after the launch of a ground offensive marking the second phase of France's intervention that began last week with an aerial campaign.

Le Drian said the French intervention was going well but that the fight would be long and difficult.

"It's a little more difficult in the west, where we have the toughest, most fanatical and best-organised groups. It's underway there but it's difficult," he said.

"We were aware from the beginning that this would be a very difficult operation," he said, noting that more than 1,000 Islamist rebels were in the western zone and may receive reinforcements.

"We are in a very positive situation compared with last week, but fighting continues and it will be long. The goal is for Mali to regain sovereignty over all of its territory," Le Drian said.

 

Kerry seeks to allay Gulf states’ fears on Iran

Egypt Interior Minister replaced in cabinet reshuffle

Assad likens himself to Superman

Libya urges UN to lift arms embargo

Dubai launches first 3D pavement art festival

Jewish tradition could help struggling Gaza farmers

Saudi Arabia urges coalition to fight jihadists 'on ground'

Algeria criminalises violence against women

Sisi replaces interior minister in cabinet reshuffle

Executions set 'unprecedented' pace in Saudi Arabia

Libya declares more than 10 oil fields ‘non-operational’ after IS attacks

Syria exiled opposition chief seeks to unite dissidents

US warns against sectarianism in Tikrit offensive

Thousands of Filipinos remain in Libya despite perilous situation

South Sudan peace talks hit deadlock ahead of deadline

Turkey will not take part in Iraq offensive to retake Mosul

Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen freed

Mali rebel groups urged to sign peace deal

At least 34 dead in Syria rebel attack on intel HQ

Libya declares force majeure at 11 oil fields

Iran’s regional influence ‘not negiotiable’

Women protest for peace ahead of Israel election

Concerns rise over civilians’ safety in Iraq military operation

UN invites Libya leaders for crisis talks in Algeria

Israel to double water quota to Gaza ‘within days’

Abbas: Palestinians ready to talk with "whoever" wins Israel election

Fire at Cairo convention centre injures 19 people

US, Iran wrap up three days of intense nuclear negotiations

EU reviews policy in response to Ukraine, Arab Spring

IAEA delegation to hold talks in Tehran on March 9

Tunisia rescues 86 African migrants at sea

Saudi executing at 'unprecedented' pace

Turkish Airlines plane skids off Nepal runway

British former marine 'killed' in Syria

Iran slams boring Netanyahu's continuous lie-spreading in US speech

'Saudi prince' New York apartment on sale for $48.5m

Libyan militants take control of two oil fields

Washington lauds Iran's role in Iraq

Netanyahu warns Congress: Nuclear deal will free Iran to develop weapons

Bottle of juice vs. outspoken critic of Israel domestic policies

UN approves sanctions regime for South Sudan

Arab states to mull creation of joint force against ‘Islamic State’

Libya tit-for-tat airstrikes target airport, oil terminal

Iran holds memorial service for ‘Afghan volunteers’ killed in Syria

South Sudan general accused of abducting child soldiers