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French forces take airport, bridge in Gao, Mali

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DAKAR, Senegal >> France’s defense minister says French forces have taken control of an area around the airport and bridge in Gao, a city in northeastern Mali that for months has been controlled by al-Qaida-linked jihadists.

Jean-Yves Le Drian announced in a statement from his ministry in Paris today that jihadist fighters who encountered advancing French and Malian troops “saw their means of transport and their logistics sites destroyed.”

No other details were provided, and there was no immediate word on possible casualties.  

Gao has long been under the control of the al-Qaida-linked Movement for Oneness and Jihad, or MUJAO. Phone lines in the town have been cut for days, making it hard for reporters to gain information about events there.

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