In Mali street battles are said to have been taking place between French special forces and Islamist militants in the town of Diabali, which fell into rebel hands on Monday.
Reports say French troop reinforcements have been arriving in the zone where jihadist groups are active.
French and Malian soldiers have been heading north from Bamako, the African country’s capital, as the ground operation gets underway.
On Tuesday hundreds of troops headed north from Niono. Diabali, 50 kilometres away, was bombarded several times by the French air force.
But witnesses say militants are still there.
“We’re in a better position than last week but the combat continues and it will be long, let’s be honest, the goal is to make sure that Mali regains all of its territory’s sovereignty,” said the French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
In Bamako there is a sense of relief at the French intervention.
“I am happy, very happy about the arrival of the French, for the freedom of the Malian people. There you are. We want the unity of our country and a Republican state and throw out once and for all the terrorists and narco-traffickers,” said resident Oumar Camara.
President Hollande has said the aim is to “destroy the terrorists”.
The number of French troops in the country is set to treble, before a West African force becomes operational.
Army chiefs from the West African force are meeting in Bamako to fine-tune the operation, being launched under a UN mandate.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Now is ‘right time’ for Catalonia independence vote, says Mas | euronews, world news
- 3Vatican rocked by another paedophilia scandal | euronews, world news
- 4Two container ships collide on Egypt’s Suez Canal | euronews, no comment
- 5British Muslims’ message to ISIL: Not in my name! | euronews, world news
- 6Revealed: Europe’s capital cities where it’s hardest to be a foreigner | euronews, world news
- 7Sweden becomes first European nation to recognise Palestine | euronews, world news
- 8European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
- 9How nasheeds became the soundtrack of jihad | euronews, world news
- 10International tv news | euronews: European and International tv news bulletin
- 11Iceland volcano ‘pollutes Paris’ | euronews, world news
- 12Ebola: Six new suspected cases in Spain | euronews, world news
- 13Learning through “serious games” | euronews, learning world
- 14All you need to know about the Ebola virus | euronews, world news
- 15International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 16US says ISIL makes $1 million-a-day selling oil – even to enemies | euronews, world news
- 17US delivers technical aid to Ukraine but warns over security | euronews, world news
- 18euronews apps : iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Nokia S40, Nokia Asha, Smart TV and Google Glass
- 19Global warming to ‘cause 250,000 extra deaths a year’ | euronews, world news
- 20Mike Tyson: ‘You learn humbleness when you get older in life’ | euronews, the global conversation
Wires > News
- 00:00 CET Brazil’s election too close to call on eve of runoff
- 23:08 CET Egypt eyes legal restrictions, military measures after Sinai…
- 22:42 CET Ebola death toll tops 4,900 as virus spreads – WHO
- 22:36 CET Canadians flock to Parliament Hill, site of attack on soldier
- 22:30 CET In rural Tunisia, economic malaise weighs on voters
- 22:24 CET Lebanon army fights gunmen in Tripoli, six soldiers killed
- 20:59 CET Police seek motive in fatal Washington state school shooting
- 20:31 CET Iran re-arrests leading human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh