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France gets deeper in Mali war: Are they ready? (+video)

The recent rebel capture of the village of Diabaly renewed concerns that French air power in tandem with Malian ground forces would not be enough. Now French troops are headed north.

West African army chiefs met in Bamako on Wednesday on plans to send African troops to join an offensive against Islamists occupying northern Mali, as France pressed on with air strikes against the insurgents.
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French ground troops in Mali advanced north today toward the tiny hamlet of Diabaly, preparing to engage Islamic rebels in a shooting war whose duration and success are still a question mark.

What began as a limited air campaign last week to counter an ambitious rebel advance southward from strongholds in northern Mali may this week become a full-scale war. 

The French are seeking to retake Diabaly from the rebels after the town of 35,000 fell last week and airstrikes did not check rebel advances. 

"We will be fighting directly," said French military chief of staff Adm. Edouard Guillaud on Europe 1 television Wednesday. “I am unable to say whether it is in one hour or in 72 hours."


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