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The French Defense Ministry has announced that French and Malian troops have taken control of the cities of TImbuktu and Gao, and the land in between the two Malian cities, according to CNN. The area was a stronghold for Islamic extremist troops for almost a year. The Islamist group still controls some areas in northern Mali.
French President Francois Hollande said yesterday, "We are winning in Mali," after troops were greeted by celebration in freed areas over the weekend. Under extremist rule, Malians were banned from listening to music, drinking, smoking and watching sports. The mayor of Gao, who had been exiled, was reinstated.
France has over 2000 soldiers on Malian soil, with another thousand aiding from other countries. The U.S. had already been providing intelligence and airlift support, and has recently begun aerial refueling missions in support of French and Malian troops.
Quote of note
"The good news is that, for the first time in many years, Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. It looks like there's a genuine desire to get this done soon. And that's very encouraging." - President Barack Obama, in a pre-released excerpt from his talks in Las Vegas on immigration reform.
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