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A French helicopter pilot was killed in Mali, on the same day French troops arrived there to help bolster the African nation's fight against Islamist rebel forces. The al Qaeda-linked militant group, which has steadily claimed Malian territory for themselves over the past nine months, has been pressing dangerously close to Konna—a major base for the Malian army. But the French defense minister reported on Saturday that French airstrikes—aid requested by the former French colony’s president—had not only driven back the rebels but also destroyed one of their command centers. Despite the positive start, Lt. Col. Diarran Kone said victory is still out of reach. “We remain vigilant,” he warned.