Fierce fighting rages in Mali

Associated Press
In this image taken during an official visit organized by the Malian army to the town of Konna, some 680 kilometers (430 miles) north of Mali's capital Bamako, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, bullets lay on the ground of a destroyed base used by islamist rebels. One wing of Mali's Ansar Dine rebel group has split off to create its own movement, saying that they want to negotiate a solution to the crisis in Mali, in a declaration that indicates at least some of the members of the al-Qaida linked group are searching for a way out of the extremist movement in the wake of French air strikes. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

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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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