January 28, 2013
French-led troops surrounded Mali’s fabled desert city of Timbuktu Monday after seizing its airport in a lightning advance against Islamists who have been driven from key northern strongholds.
French paratroopers swooped in to block any fleeing Islamists while ground troops coming from the south seized the airport in the ancient city which has been one of the bastions of the extremists who have controlled the north for 10 months.
“We control the airport at Timbuktu,” a senior officer with the Malian army told AFP. “We did not encounter any resistance.”