French planes strike Mali-Algeria border

Feb. 3, 2013 at 9:32 AM

KIDAL, Mali, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- French warplanes bombed northern Mali Sunday to drive out the last of the Islamic militants who took refuge near the border with Algeria, officials said.

The strikes targeted "logistical depots and training centers" run by the Islamic militants Saturday and overnight into Sunday, French army spokesman Thierry Burkhard said Sunday.

Thirty French warplanes conducted the strikes in the Tessalit area north of Kidal, where French troops overtook the airport last week, Radio France Internationale reported.

Officials suspect the militants are taking refuge in the area, specifically in the Ifoghas mountains.

The air attacks came after French President Francois Hollande's visit to the country Saturday, Euronews.com reported.

Hollande last month ordered French troops into Mali to help fight al-Qaida-linked forces that had taken control of the African country's northern region.

Hollande said France would withdraw its forces as soon as the Malian government regains control of the country and U.N-backed African troops arrive to help restore order.

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