Timbuktu airport has been seized and secured by French and Malian troops. Backed by airpower around 1200 soldiers have now launched an offensive to take the city.
A senior military officer reported they met no resistance at the airport though they uncovered a series of improvised explosive devices. One unnamed member said they were laid by people who knew what they were doing.
“The whole device was set up cleanly, the connections were done correctly, the whole system was ready to work. It was an expert job, it was not the work of amateurs, that’s clear,” he said.
The advance into the ancient city has prompted French President Francois Hollande to tell a news conference on Monday, “we are winning this battle”. His words come with reports Islamists fleeing Timbuktu set fire to homes and thousands of priceless manuscripts.
There are claims from the secular Tuareg rebel commanders they are now in control of the northern town of Kidal after Islamist militant fighters abandoned it.
Kidal is the capital of a remote region which borders Algeria. It was one of the last suburban strongholds of the militants.
Human Rights Watch has raised concerns that members of the Malian military may be settling old scores during their offensive. Images have been released showing dead bodies at the bottom of a well.
African and international leaders will meet on Tuesday in Addis Ababa for a donors conference.
Meanwhile British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the UK would not be sending combat troops to Mali.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1Watch: Angry mob throw Ukraine MP into rubbish bin
- 2Russia: new EU sanctions look ‘strange’ says Putin
- 3Putin takes control of Russia’s defence industries and calls for new weapons
- 4Young American sentenced to six-years hard labour in North Korea
- 5US and NATO troops begin military exercises in Ukraine
- 1Podemos: Spanish indignation in Brussels’ corridors of power | euronews, reporter
- 2Israel announces it will seize 400 acres in West Bank | euronews, world news
- 3Watch: Angry mob throw Ukraine MP into rubbish bin | euronews, world news
- 4Japan sounds bluefin warning, calls for 50% catch cut | euronews, world news
- 5Hoverbike on the horizon | euronews, hi-tech
- 6China executes eight Muslims convicted of terrorism | euronews, world news
- 73D printing: a driving force in design and engineering | euronews, hi-tech
- 8Ukraine accuses Russian aid convoy of stealing factory equipment | euronews, world news
- 9New car offers freedom for disabled drivers | euronews, hi-tech
- 10Young Yazidi girl escapes Islamic State kidnappers | euronews, world news
- 11Rise of the machines | euronews, futuris
- 12#ن: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq’s persecuted Christians | euronews, world news
- 13EU leaders name Donald Tusk European Council president | euronews, world news
- 14The business benefits of EU chemical regulation | euronews, business planet
- 15Turkish ferry makes high-speed final landing | euronews, no comment
- 16Risk of fresh ash cloud threatens European air travel | euronews, world news
- 17Canada sends hilarious barb to Russia over Ukraine ‘incursions’ | euronews, world news
- 18Iceland warns Europe’s airlines of possible volcanic eruption | euronews, world news
- 19Thousands of Catalans call for choice on split from Spain | euronews, world news
- 20Iceland puts on a show as two of its volcanoes spew out lava | euronews, world news
Wires > News
- 00:57 CET Arab Bank never backed Hamas, lawyer tells U.S. jury
- 00:51 CET Armed Shi’ite rebels push into Yemen’s capital
- 22:49 CET Greek police, protesters clash during rally to mark rapper killing
- 22:10 CET Kurds issue call to arms as Islamic State gains in Syria
- 21:35 CET Three car bombs, mortars kill 23 in Shi’ite Baghdad districts
- 21:07 CET U.N. says five peacekeepers killed, three wounded in Mali blast
- 19:25 CET Nigeria police have special ‘torture officers’ – Amnesty
- 19:00 CET West tells Iran it must address nuclear bomb fears