France Launches Airstrikes in Mali
President Hollande says terrorists 'threaten us all'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 11, 2013 6:39 PM CST
France's President Francois Hollande delivers a speech on the situation in Mali at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.   (Philippe Wojazer)

(Newser) – France launched airstrikes today to help the government of Mali defeat al-Qaeda-linked militants who captured more ground this week, dramatically raising the stakes in the battle for this vast desert nation. French President Francois Hollande said the "terrorist groups, drug traffickers, and extremists" in northern Mali "show a brutality that threatens us all." He vowed that the operation would last "as long as necessary." France said it was taking the action in Mali at the request of President Dioncounda Traore, who declared a state of emergency because of the militants' advance.

The arrival of the French troops in their former colony came a day after the Islamists moved the closest yet toward territory still under government control and fought the Malian military for the first time in months, seizing the strategic city of Konna. Sanda Abou Moahmed, a spokesman for the Ansar Dine group, condemned Mali's president for seeking military help from its former colonizer. "While Dioncounda Traore asked for help from France, we ask for guidance from Allah and from other Muslims in our sub-region because this war has become a war against the crusaders," he said by telephone from Timbuktu. See more here.

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Jan 12, 2013 7:23 AM CST
From the wry wits at BBC:The UN had previously approved plans to send some 3,000 African troops to Mali to recapture the north if no political solution could be found, but that intervention was not expected to happen until September.
Jan 12, 2013 5:34 AM CST
I'm pleased that FRANCE has taken a stance in just cause..Thank you President Hollande....
Jan 12, 2013 5:08 AM CST
It's George W's fault?