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In Mali, French fighter bombers have destroyed the home belonging to the leader of an Islamist group linked to al-Qaeda.

Jets attacked positions where the group Ansar Dine – or defenders of Islam – had dug in at Kidal. It was the first town to be captured by Islamist rebels last year when they seized control of vast swathes of northern Mali.

The former Tuareg rebel Iyad Ag Ghaly set up Ansar Dine in 2012. It is not known whether or not he survived the French air strike.

It is the latest move in the advance against the Islamists that began with an urgent request for help from Mali’s government two weeks ago. On Saturday French and Malian forces prised the stronghold of Gao from rebel hands, the biggest success so far in the anti-insurgent offensive.

The conflict has dominated the start of the African Union summit which has got underway in Addis Ababa. African states have promised nearly 5,700 troops for an intervention force.

The United States is to make three flying tankers available so French aircraft can refuel in midair.

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