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French and African troops take control of Hombori as they advance towards rebel stronghold of Gao.
French and Malian troops take two key towns with little resistance as troops from Chad arrive in Mali.
Bombardment of rebels strongholds come as Russia and Canada "offer" logistical support to French and African troops.
President Hollande says Algeria crisis justifies Mali intervention as French contingent in former colony reaches 1,400
Announcement comes as Hollande says France will end intervention only when stability returns to West African country.
The European country is expected to send 2,500 troops to Mali for a military invasion against rebels in the north.
United Nations Security Council backs French intervention in West African country, as rebels launch counteroffensive.
Al-Qaeda-linked rebels overrun garrison of Diabaly in central Mali after fierce fighting with French and Malian troops.
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
 
 
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