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France targets Mali Islamist bases

New French air strikes are targeting fuel depots and bases of Islamist extremists in northern Mali, France's foreign minister has said.

Laurent Fabius said on French radio that the strikes hit the Kidal region overnight, near the border with Algeria.

The raid is part of a broader effort to cut off supplies to radical fighters who had taken over much of the African country and enforced harsh rules on the population.

Mr Fabius said on France-Inter radio: "They cannot stay there a long time unless they have new supplies."

The French intervened in Mali on January 11 to stem the advance of the al Qaida-linked fighters.

Mr Fabius also said that France wants African forces to assume security responsibility for the historic city of Timbuktu "very fast", perhaps as soon as Tuesday.

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