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.