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Latest Mali Items
The French government has formally requested U.S. military assistance to combat al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Mali, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the American Forces Press Service on Thursday.
Deep inside caves, in remote desert bases, in the escarpments and cliff faces of northern Mali, Islamic extremist fighters have been burrowing into the earth, erecting a formidable set of defenses to protect what essentially has become al Qaeda's new country.
Al Qaeda-linked terrorists seized as many as 40 hostages, including an unknown number of Americans, in a deadly attack Wednesday on a natural gas field party operated by BP in Algeria.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the leader of the world's largest military, met Pope Benedict XVI, the world's best known advocate for peace, at the Vatican on Wednesday.
Islamist militants attacked and occupied a natural-gas field partly operated by BP in southern Algeria early Wednesday, killing two foreigners and holding possibly dozens of others, including Americans, hostage while surrounded by Algerian forces.
French troops pressed north in Mali toward territory occupied by radical Islamists on Wednesday, launching a land assault that will put soldiers in direct combat "in one to 72 hours," military officials said.
Armed soldiers are on guard in Paris' subways, train stations and some of the world's most recognizable monuments to head off terror attacks after France's military launched an operation to push back al-Qaeda-linked insurgents in Mali.
U.S. officials voiced support Monday for France's military campaign against al Qaeda-linked rebels in Mali, and downplayed the notion that the United States is on the verge of getting pulled into a widening conflict in the West African nation.
France's foreign minister says the United States is providing communications and transport help for an international military intervention aimed at wresting Mali's north out of the hands of Islamist extremists.