French Troops Enter Malian Holdout

    Youths celebrate witht the French flag on January 29, 2013 in Ansongo, a town south of the northern Malian city of Gao, as Niger troops enter the city. Troops from Niger and Mali on january 29 entered Ansongo, which along with Gao was recaptured by French-led soldiers over the weekend in a lightning offensive against radicals holding Mali's north. So far, just 2,000 African troops have been sent to Mali or neighboring Niger, many of them from Chad, to boost the French-led offensive which began on January 11 and led to the recapture of several towns, including Ansongo.       AFP PHOTO / KAMBOU SIA        (Photo credit should read KAMBOU SIA/AFP/Getty Images)

    Malian youth celebrate with French flag on Tuesday. (Kambou Sia/AFP/Getty)

    French troops on Tuesday night entered the town of Kidal, one of the last holdouts of the al Qaeda–linked militants who had controlled vast parts of the country. By Wednesday morning—just 24 hours after securing Timbuktu—French forces had already taken control of the town’s airport and there was no combat fight. But taking control of Kidal is just the end of the first phase of the French intervention—there are still large numbers of militants who have fled into the desert in the north. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb seized control in the northern region of Mali after a coup, and France led a United Nations–backed intervention as the militants showed signs of moving to the southern region.

    Read it at BBC News