bbc.co.uk
February 6, 2013

French forces are embroiled in a “real war” with “terrorists” around the Malian town of Gao, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said.

Islamist militants were swept from Gao last month, but Mr Le Drian said clashes were continuing in the area.

French forces were deployed nearly a month ago to combat al-Qaeda-linked militants who had taken over Mali’s desert northern regions.

Paris says it wants to begin pulling out its 4,000 troops in March.

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