Fierce fighting rages in Mali

Associated Press
In this Jan. 15, 2013 file photo, French troops in two armored personnel carriers drive through Mali's capital Bamako on the road to Mopti. The Obama administration has declared it cannot accept new terrorist sanctuaries in Mali or anywhere else and has promised to support French and African efforts to restore security. Yet after almost a year of disorder in the West African nation, Washington is still keeping the conflict at arm’s length.  (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

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French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Feb. 21, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces.

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