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The Boston Globe

World

French and Malian forces advance on rebels

Troops driving to seize control of Timbuktu

PARIS — Malian forces backed by French troops were advancing Sunday toward the crucial northern town of Timbuktu as they begin to deploy in the rebel stronghold of Gao, French officials said.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault of France said the French troops were “around Gao and soon near Timbuktu,” farther west. Timbuktu has been under the control of rebels and Islamist fighters for 10 months, though there are reports that many of the Islamist fighters have moved farther into the vast desert.

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