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The Boston Globe

World

French soldiers battle armed Islamists in Mali

BAMAKO, Mali — French soldiers battled the armed Islamist occupiers of a desert village in central Mali on Wednesday, a Malian army colonel said, in the first direct ground combat involving Western troops since France began its military operation here last week to help wrest this nation back from a militant advance.

The Malian colonel said his army’s ground troops had joined the French forces and ringed the village of Diabaly, which Islamist fighters had seized the day before. Now, he said, they were engaged in fighting to extricate the militants, who had taken over homes and ensconced themselves.

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