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.

 

GCC states vow united stand against IS mosque bombings

Egypt government adopts anti-terror law

21 killed in clashes, strikes in Yemen's Aden

Ankara has no plans for imminent intervention in Syria

Iraq Christians train for jihad against IS

Islamists form alliance in battle for Aleppo

Top Tunisian jihadist reportedly killed by US strike in Libya

Emir attends joint Shiite, Sunni prayers in Kuwait

Hamas denies involvement in Sinai attacks

Palestinians arrest 100 Hamas members in West Bank

4 Qaeda suspects killed in US drone attack in Yemen

'Series of errors' behind Air Algerie crash in Mali

Palestinians protest one year after teenager burned alive

Egypt vows to wipe out 'dens of terror'

Tunisia arrests eight in connection with beach massacre

Youth in Tunisia 'ripe for radicalisation'

UN sends mission to 'assess' South Sudan atrocities

Syria urges citizens to enlist

AQAP step up campaign to eradicate qat

British FM: 'No breakthrough yet' in Iran nuclear talks

UN imposes first sanctions on six South Sudan generals

Libya rival governments will not return to peace talks

Fighting rages in Yemen’s Aden

Kurds warn Turkey against any ‘aggression’ in Syria

Kuwait makes DNA tests mandatory after suicide bombing

Kuwait parliament approves deficit budget on oil slide

Pro-Erdogan candidate becomes new speaker of Turkey parliament

‘War’ in Sinai Peninsula as clashes with ISIS fighters rage on

All 38 victims of Tunisia beach massacre identified

36 killed in wave of IS attack on Egyptian soldiers

Iran vs. Israel gets cartoon treatment

IAEA chief to fly to Iran for nuclear talks

Saudi prince pledges fortune to charity

Syria Kurds regain full control of Tal Abyad

Palestinian PM to make 'temporary' cabinet reshuffle

20 civilians killed in rebel fire on Yemen's Aden

Iran nuclear talks go into extra time

Gulf states urged to follow Kuwait on maid rights

Yemen rebels free 1,200 prisoners

Negotiators extend deadline for Iran nuclear talks

‘Islamic State’ re-enters Syria border town of Tal Abyad

Defiant tourists stay in Tunisia

Deadly clashes rage on in eastern Libya

Only mobile phone company in Gaza closed by Hamas

Zarif keeps cards close to chest as he meets Kerry