France poised to send thousands more troops to Mali

The insurgents vow to make conflict ‘worse than Afghanistan’

Thousands of French troops were preparing to join the anti-terrorist war in Mali today as British army chiefs warned against getting sucked into the conflict. Tanks supported by more soldiers arrived in the west African country which is fighting Islamist insurgents linked to Al Qaeda rebels pouring in from northern desert areas. French president Francois Hollande said overnight strikes by fighter jets had ‘achieved their goals’ and that his troops on the ground would increase to around 2500 over the next few weeks.

Nevertheless, Malian insurgents in the bombarded stronghold of Diabaly remained defiant, as one commander declared: ‘We are waiting for them. Every French soldier should prepare his will.

‘They left Afghanistan… they will never leave Mali alive.’

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