French forces advance on Gao
[FOXNEWS] French forces took control of the airport and a key bridge in the radical Islamist stronghold of Gao under cover of darkness early Saturday, making a significant inroad into territory held by the Al Qaeda-linked extremists.
Meanwhile, the usual suspects back in La Belle France are asking "are they bogged down?"
The move comes just two weeks after France launched its military offensive to rout the Islamists from power in northern Mali. It isn't clear what kind of resistance they will face in coming days.
| It has, after all, been nearly two weeks. That's enough time for a full miniseries if you broadcast Mon through Fri. That's even enough time for the episodes to make it onto Youtube. Is the fan site up yet?.|
My guess would be that they'll encounter devout men with turbans and automatic weapons. What's your guess?
French and Malian forces came under fire in the morning and continued to face sporadic "acts of harassment," in the afternoon, said Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French military spokesman in Paris. He had no immediate estimate on casualties.
"Keep yer head down, Jean-Francois!"
The Islamists first seized control of Gao and two other northern provincial capitals--Timbuktu and Kidal--last April during the chaotic aftermath of a coup in the distant capital.
Gao, at least, fell in the beforemath of the coup. Are we the only ones who've been paying attention?
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced in a statement from his ministry Saturday that jihadist fighters who encountered the advancing French and Malian troops "saw their means of transport and their logistics sites."
I don't think they got the entire quote in there. It should probably read: "jihadist fighters who encountered the advancing French and Malian troops 'saw their means of transport and their logistics sites go pfffft!'" Otherwise it's an incomplete sentence, and I'm sure M. Le Drian doesn't speak in fragements.
Before the joint air-land operations overnight, French forces carried out "an important phase of airstrikes" around Gao and Timbuktu, with nearly 30 bombs fired from fighter jets over the previous two days, the military said.
Waydaminnit! Yesterday the turbans blew a "strategic" bridge, thereby cutting off access to both Niger and to Gao. Now we've got the Frenchies teleporting in right past the wreckage.
More French and African troops and equipment were being sent to Gao, the French Defense Ministry said. Troops from Chad and Niger "should arrive in the Gao area very soon," it added.
They will provide a relative plentitude of bodies, cutting the likelihood that random shots fired in their direction will hit Frenchies.
Frenchies take Gao
That was quick, especially for being bogged down as they are.
Posted by: Fred 2013-01-27