Mali Islamists counter attack, promise France long war
Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels launched a counteroffensive in Mali on Monday after four days of French air strikes on their northern strongholds, seizing the central town of Diabaly and promising to drag France into a brutal Afghanistan-style war.
France, which has poured hundreds of troops into the capital Bamako in recent days, carried out more air raids on Monday in the vast desert area seized last year by an Islamist alliance grouping al Qaeda's north African wing AQIM alongside Mali's home-grown MUJWA and Ansar Dine militant groups.
"France has opened the gates of hell for all the French," a spokesman for MUJWA, Oumar Ould Hamaha, told Europe 1 radio. "She has fallen into a trap which is much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia."
Posted by: tipper