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French planes destroy Islamist leader's house

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A Malian soldier is seen near an unexploded shell in the recently liberated town of Konna on Saturday.Photo: Reuters
A Malian soldier is seen near an unexploded shell in the recently liberated town of Konna on Saturday.Photo: Reuters

French air strikes destroyed the home of the leader of an Al-Qaeda linked group in northern Mali as French-led forces advanced on Sunday on the Islamist stronghold of Timbuktu.

The overnight strikes in Kidal came 24 hours after French-led troops seized Gao, the most populated town in Mali's Islamist-controlled arid north, which is roughly the size of Texas. Gao is home to about 60,000 people.

"There were air raids on Islamist bases in Kidal," 1,500 kilometres north of the capital Bamako, a Malian security source said, adding that the home of Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) chief Iyad Ag Ghaly was destroyed. A local official and residents gave similar accounts.Kidal has been a bastion of Ansar Dine, whose leader Iyad Ag Ghaly is a former soldier and a Tuareg ex-rebel, who formed the group last year.


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