Jan 13, 2013
French air force strikes Islamist bases in Mali
France's air force launched fresh strikes in northern Mali Sunday, targeting a camp used by jihadist fighters and a weapons depot for the Islamist insurgent group Ansar Dine, officials and residents said.
Witnesses said French fighter jets struck a camp used by Islamist militants in Lere, around 150 kilometres (95 miles) north of Konna, a key central town which government troops recaptured with French aerial backing on Friday.
"The Lere camp, which was abandoned by the Malian army and had been used by the
Islamists, was completely razed by air raids," a local official said, speaking from Mauritania where he took refuge.
Several other refugees said French air raids also struck weapons and ammunition depots used by Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith), a group whose leaders are connected to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Security sources speaking on condition of anonymity said Sunday's air strikes also hit targets near Douentza and Nampala.
France has said its intervention was to stop a southward advance by Islamist insurgents that threatened the capital Bamako.