After three weeks of military offensive against Islamist militants in Mali, French air forces pounded an area in the north of the country near the Algerian border where rebels have gathered. Thirty french jets targeted various communication and training centers in an attempt to secur the city of Kidal, one of the final remaining holdouts for the militants. Several French hostages are believed to be held somewhere in the area. French armed forces also moved to protect a uranium plant in neighboring Niger after a hostage crisis at a gas plant in Algeria. The French company Areva is deeply involved in uranium mining in Niger, which supplies materials for nuclear power production in France.