A French legionnaire cleans the barrel of an armored vehicle at an undisclosed location north of the Malian capital, Bamako, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. French troops pressed northward in the West African country toward territory occupied by radical Islamists on Wednesday, military officials said, announcing the start of a land assault that will put soldiers in direct combat "within hours." (AP Photo/Arnaud Roine, French Army Communication Audiovisual Office [ECPAD])

Photo by: Arnaud Roine

A French legionnaire cleans the barrel of an armored vehicle at an undisclosed location north of the Malian capital, Bamako, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. French troops pressed northward in the West African country toward territory occupied by radical Islamists on Wednesday, military officials said, announcing the start of a land assault that will put soldiers in direct combat "within hours." (AP Photo/Arnaud Roine, French Army Communication Audiovisual Office [ECPAD])