French, Mali Troops Expand Ground Operations in Country

Hundreds more French troops arrived


French and Malian troops expanded their ground operations Thursday as they battled militants in the desert village of Diabaly in central Mali, senior Malian military officials said, and hundreds of French reinforcements arrived in the West African nation.

The confrontations marked the first direct engagement since France launched a military assault last week to oust radical Islamists who have advanced to within 250 miles of the capital.