Mali

Mali Islamists Counter-Attack

France threatened

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Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to dragFrance into a long and brutal ground war.

France intensified its air raids on Sunday using state-of-the-art Rafale planes and Gazelle attack helicopters to pummel training camps at the heart of the vast area seized by rebels in April, while pouring hundreds of its ground troops into the capital Bamako.