This ain't good news for sure. Let's only hope that this is momentary and that the advance of the Wahhabis won't last long ...
Original source:By Rukmini Callimachi And Baba Ahmed, January 14, 2013 11:00 PM
Despite a punishing aerial bombardment by French warplanes, al-Qaida-linked insurgents grabbed more territory in Mali on Monday, seizing a strategic military camp that brought them far closer to the government's seat of power.
Declaring France had "opened the gates of hell" with its assault, the rebels threatened retribution.
"France ... has fallen into a trap much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia," declared Omar Ould Hamaha, a leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, one of the rebel groups controlling the north, speaking on French radio network Europe 1.
French fighter jets have been pummeling the insurgents' desert stronghold in the north since Friday, determined to shatter the Islamist domination of a region many fear could become a launch pad for terrorist attacks on the West and a base for co-ordination with al-Qaida in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.
The Islamist fighters responded with a counter-offensive Monday, overrunning the garrison town of Diabaly, about 160 kilometres north of Segou, the administrative capital of central Mali, said French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The French embassy in Bamako immediately ordered the evacuation of the roughly 60 French nationals in the Segou region, said a French citizen who insisted on anonymity out of fear for her safety.
France expanded its aerial bombing campaign, launching airstrikes for the first time in central Mali to combat the new threat. But the intense assault, including raids by gunship helicopters and Mirage fighter jets, failed to halt the advance of the rebels, who were 400 kilometres from the capital, Bamako, in the far south.
In: World News
Tags: Mali, Azawad, Ansar Dine, AQIM, Foreign Legion, France, War, Wahhabism, Islamism, Middle Ages, Diabaly, Touareg
Location: Segou, Segou, Mali (load item map)
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