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HEAVY COMBAT NEAR GAO

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Malian, French Troops Continue to Repel Assaults
By Harold Hutchison

French and Malian troops have held off attacks by the Islamist rebels around the northern Malian city of Gao. The attacks come since the city was first re-taken from the insurgency in January.

According to a report by VOA News, Lieutenant Colonel Diarran Koné has said the city has been taken, but that “pockets of insecurity” remain. A resident of Gao who requested anonymity told VOA that many families are staying in their homes to wait out the fighting, the latest round of which started at 11:30 PM Wednesday.

French forces are planning to pull out once an African Union peacekeeping force can be established.