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French troops take northern town of Tessalit


French combat troops, guided by Malian soldiers, arrived Friday to the town of Tessalit near the Malian border with Algeria as they continue to track retreating Islamist fighters hiding in the vast desert region.


French forces on Friday arrived in the town of Tessalit, a town deep in northern Mali near the border with Algeria, and one of the last strongholds of Islamist rebels who wielded unchecked power in the region less than a month ago.

Tessalit’s airport has now become the most distant combat outposts in the joint French-Malian effort to re-establish total control of northern Mali.

FRANCE 24 flew to Tessalit from the city of Gao in a French military helicopter, and spoke to French and Malian soldiers about the continuing military operation. French troops said their ability to quickly advance powerful military hardware was possible only because of the Malian soldiers serving as guides.

With a base of operation now established in Tessalit, French soldiers are now busy setting up a vast surveillance operation to track Islamist fighters who are still hiding in this expansive and harsh region.


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