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Mali Islamists threaten to retaliate 'at the heart of France' (+video)

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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

Islamists in Mali today threatened to launch attacks "at the heart of France" after the European nation began military operations to free northern Mali from militants in a campaign that the French foreign minister said would take "a matter of weeks."

Abou Dardar, a leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, one of the Islamist groups operating in Mali, told Agence France-Presse today that "France has attacked Islam. We will strike at the heart of France."

When asked where the group would strike, he said "Everywhere. In Bamako [Mali's capital], in Africa, and in Europe." He also said that his group, which has ties to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), would "make a statement" today on eight French hostages held in the region by Islamists.

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