French Strikes Kill 100 in Mali

Militants, soldiers killed in strategic town of Konna
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2013 2:35 PM CST
French Mirage 2000 D aircraft fly to N'Djamena overnight January 11 to 12, after taking off from the French military base of Nancy.    (AP Photo/ R.Nicolas-Nelson, Ecpad)
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(Newser) – French airstrikes in Mali have killed more than 100 people in the key town of Konna, including Islamist militants and government soldiers, Reuters reports. "We have driven them out, we are effectively in Konna," said a Malian official after 30 vehicles carrying rebels were reportedly bombed. "We don't know if they have planted mines or other traps, so we are moving with caution. There were many deaths on both sides."

A Konna shopkeeper tallied 148 dead in four areas around the town, including dozens of Malian soldiers. Meanwhile a resident of Gao, a town held by the MUJWA Islamists, said militants were carting their dead over yesterday. "Electric power is available at the mortuary, which is not always the case," he said. "And the Islamists have bought plenty of burial mats." France launched the attacks yesterday in a bid to help the Malian government gain ground against al-Qaeda-linked militants who have taken over much of northern Mali. (Read more Mali stories.)

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