4 Feb 2013

Rebel bases bombed in Mali

3:40 pm on 4 February 2013

French warplanes have carried out air strikes in Mali's far north as they try to secure the final rebel stronghold of Kidal after a three-week offensive.

Thirty jets targeted Islamist militants' training and communication centres around Tessalit, a mountainous area near the Algerian border.

French forces have been trying to secure the town after capturing its airport on Wednesday.

It's the rebel last stronghold since the fall of Timbuktu and Gao.

French President Francois Hollande has pledged to help rebuild Mali after the rebels who seized its north are beaten but there are fears the fighters could re-group in the mountains near Kidal.

French forces were sent to Mali three weeks ago to fight the rebels.