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Pictures | Wed Jan 16, 2013 | 6:01pm EST

France launches ground campaign against Mali rebels

Malian soldiers stand guard as Mali's President Dioncounda Traore speaks to French troops at an air base in Bamako, Mali January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Malian soldiers stand guard as Mali's President Dioncounda Traore speaks to French troops at an air base in Bamako, Mali January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Malian soldiers stand guard as Mali's President Dioncounda Traore speaks to French troops at an air base in Bamako, Mali January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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French helicopters arrive at an air base in Bamako, Mali January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French helicopters arrive at an air base in Bamako, Mali January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French helicopters arrive at an air base in Bamako, Mali January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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French Elite Special Operations soldiers drive through the town of Markala, about 275 km (171 miles) from the capital Bamako, January 15, 2013, to meet Malian soldiers and organize a counter-attack in the jihadist-held town of Diabaly. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT)

French Elite Special Operations soldiers drive through the town of Markala, about 275 km (171 miles) from the capital Bamako, January 15, 2013, to meet Malian soldiers and organize a counter-attack in the jihadist-held town of Diabaly....more

French Elite Special Operations soldiers drive through the town of Markala, about 275 km (171 miles) from the capital Bamako, January 15, 2013, to meet Malian soldiers and organize a counter-attack in the jihadist-held town of Diabaly. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT)
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French soldiers arrange equipment in a tank at a Malian air base in Bamako January 15, 2013. The French army sent some 50 armoured vehicles to Mali from their military base in Ivory Coast, which arrived late Monday night. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers arrange equipment in a tank at a Malian air base in Bamako January 15, 2013. The French army sent some 50 armoured vehicles to Mali from their military base in Ivory Coast, which arrived late Monday night. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers arrange equipment in a tank at a Malian air base in Bamako January 15, 2013. The French army sent some 50 armoured vehicles to Mali from their military base in Ivory Coast, which arrived late Monday night. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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French soldiers walk past armored vehicles at a Malian air base in Bamako, January 15, 2013. France hit Islamist rebels in Mali with fresh air strikes and deployed armoured cars on Tuesday, stepping up its intervention in the West African state as regional allies struggled to accelerate their plans to send in troops. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers walk past armored vehicles at a Malian air base in Bamako, January 15, 2013. France hit Islamist rebels in Mali with fresh air strikes and deployed armoured cars on Tuesday, stepping up its intervention in the West African state as...more

French soldiers walk past armored vehicles at a Malian air base in Bamako, January 15, 2013. France hit Islamist rebels in Mali with fresh air strikes and deployed armoured cars on Tuesday, stepping up its intervention in the West African state as regional allies struggled to accelerate their plans to send in troops. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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West African army officers arrive at a meeting for plans for the intervention force provided by the ECOWAS grouping of West African states, in Bamako January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

West African army officers arrive at a meeting for plans for the intervention force provided by the ECOWAS grouping of West African states, in Bamako January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

West African army officers arrive at a meeting for plans for the intervention force provided by the ECOWAS grouping of West African states, in Bamako January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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French soldiers walk past a hangar they are staying at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CONFLICT MILITARY POLITICS)

French soldiers walk past a hangar they are staying at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CONFLICT MILITARY POLITICS)

French soldiers walk past a hangar they are staying at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CONFLICT MILITARY POLITICS)
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A French Rafale fighter jet lands in Ndjamena, Chad, before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/Adj. Nicolas-Nelson Richard/ECPAD/Handout

A French Rafale fighter jet lands in Ndjamena, Chad, before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali...more

A French Rafale fighter jet lands in Ndjamena, Chad, before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/Adj. Nicolas-Nelson Richard/ECPAD/Handout
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French soldiers talk under a French flag in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers talk under a French flag in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers talk under a French flag in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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French air force technicians work on a Mirage F-1 fighter jet at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African troops for a campaign against Islamist rebels, the government said on Monday. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CONFLICT CIVIL UNREST POLITICS)

French air force technicians work on a Mirage F-1 fighter jet at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African...more

French air force technicians work on a Mirage F-1 fighter jet at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African troops for a campaign against Islamist rebels, the government said on Monday. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CONFLICT CIVIL UNREST POLITICS)
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A French Rafale fighter jet lands in Ndjamena, Chad before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/Adj. Nicolas-Nelson Richard/ECPAD/Handout

A French Rafale fighter jet lands in Ndjamena, Chad before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali...more

A French Rafale fighter jet lands in Ndjamena, Chad before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/Adj. Nicolas-Nelson Richard/ECPAD/Handout
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French soldiers leave a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France, which has poured hundreds of troops into the capital Bamako in recent days, carried out more air raids on Monday in the vast desert area seized last year by an Islamist alliance grouping al Qaeda's north African wing AQIM alongside Mali's home-grown MUJWA and Ansar Dine militant groups. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY)

French soldiers leave a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France, which has poured hundreds of troops into the capital Bamako in recent days, carried out more air raids on Monday in the vast desert area seized last year...more

French soldiers leave a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France, which has poured hundreds of troops into the capital Bamako in recent days, carried out more air raids on Monday in the vast desert area seized last year by an Islamist alliance grouping al Qaeda's north African wing AQIM alongside Mali's home-grown MUJWA and Ansar Dine militant groups. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY)
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French soldiers test equipment at the Malian air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African troops for a campaign against Islamist rebels, the government said on Monday. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CONFLICT)

French soldiers test equipment at the Malian air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African troops for a campaign against Islamist...more

French soldiers test equipment at the Malian air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African troops for a campaign against Islamist rebels, the government said on Monday. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CONFLICT)
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French soldiers attend weapon training in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers attend weapon training in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers attend weapon training in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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French soldiers listen to instructions in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY)

French soldiers listen to instructions in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY)

French soldiers listen to instructions in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY)
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French soldiers talk next to a Malian military helicopter in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers talk next to a Malian military helicopter in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers talk next to a Malian military helicopter in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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A French soldier stands between two Mirage F1 fighter jets at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African troops for a campaign against Islamist rebels, the government said on Monday. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CONFLICT POLITICS MILITARY)

A French soldier stands between two Mirage F1 fighter jets at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African troops...more

A French soldier stands between two Mirage F1 fighter jets at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African troops for a campaign against Islamist rebels, the government said on Monday. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CONFLICT POLITICS MILITARY)
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A French soldier leaves a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY)

A French soldier leaves a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY)

A French soldier leaves a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY)
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French soldiers perform emergency first aid training in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African troops for a campaign against Islamist rebels, the government said on Monday. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CONFLICT MILITARY POLITICS)

French soldiers perform emergency first aid training in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African...more

French soldiers perform emergency first aid training in a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako January 14, 2013. France plans to increase its troops in Mali to 2,500 in the days ahead and is working to speed up the deployment of West African troops for a campaign against Islamist rebels, the government said on Monday. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CONFLICT MILITARY POLITICS)
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A French military armoured personnel carrier is loaded on to a Royal Air Force C17 at Evreux in northern France, January 14, 2013. Britain is lending logistical support to France as it sends troops and military equipment to Mali. REUTERS/Andrew Winning (FRANCE - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS)

A French military armoured personnel carrier is loaded on to a Royal Air Force C17 at Evreux in northern France, January 14, 2013. Britain is lending logistical support to France as it sends troops and military equipment to Mali. REUTERS/Andrew...more

A French military armoured personnel carrier is loaded on to a Royal Air Force C17 at Evreux in northern France, January 14, 2013. Britain is lending logistical support to France as it sends troops and military equipment to Mali. REUTERS/Andrew Winning (FRANCE - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS)
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A Rafale fighter prepares for takeoff from the Saint Dizier airbase in central France before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/SGC/Laure-Anne Maucorps/ECPAD/Handout

A Rafale fighter prepares for takeoff from the Saint Dizier airbase in central France before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al...more

A Rafale fighter prepares for takeoff from the Saint Dizier airbase in central France before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/SGC/Laure-Anne Maucorps/ECPAD/Handout
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A pilot in the cockpit of a French Rafale fighter jet as it prepares to take off for deployment in Mali from the military air base of Saint Dizier in central France, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/SGC. Laure-Anne Maucorps/ECPAD/Handout

A pilot in the cockpit of a French Rafale fighter jet as it prepares to take off for deployment in Mali from the military air base of Saint Dizier in central France, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office...more

A pilot in the cockpit of a French Rafale fighter jet as it prepares to take off for deployment in Mali from the military air base of Saint Dizier in central France, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/SGC. Laure-Anne Maucorps/ECPAD/Handout
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French Rafale fighter jets taxi on the runway after landing in Ndjamena, Chad before their deployment in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/Adj. Nicolas-Nelson Richard/ECPAD/Handout

French Rafale fighter jets taxi on the runway after landing in Ndjamena, Chad before their deployment in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked...more

French Rafale fighter jets taxi on the runway after landing in Ndjamena, Chad before their deployment in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/Adj. Nicolas-Nelson Richard/ECPAD/Handout
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Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (L) shakes hands with Mali's Prime Minister Diango Cissoko upon his arrival at the presidential palace in Algiers January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi (ALGERIA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (L) shakes hands with Mali's Prime Minister Diango Cissoko upon his arrival at the presidential palace in Algiers January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi (ALGERIA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (L) shakes hands with Mali's Prime Minister Diango Cissoko upon his arrival at the presidential palace in Algiers January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi (ALGERIA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
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Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (R) talks with Mali's Prime Minister Diango Cissoko at the presidential palace in Algiers January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi (ALGERIA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (R) talks with Mali's Prime Minister Diango Cissoko at the presidential palace in Algiers January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi (ALGERIA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (R) talks with Mali's Prime Minister Diango Cissoko at the presidential palace in Algiers January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi (ALGERIA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
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A Rafale fighter is armed at the Saint Dizier airbase in central France before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/SGC. Laure-Anne Maucorps/ECPAD/Handout

A Rafale fighter is armed at the Saint Dizier airbase in central France before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist...more

A Rafale fighter is armed at the Saint Dizier airbase in central France before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/SGC. Laure-Anne Maucorps/ECPAD/Handout
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A Rafale fighter is armed at the Saint Dizier airbase in central France before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/SGC. Laure-Anne Maucorps/ECPAD/Handout

A Rafale fighter is armed at the Saint Dizier airbase in central France before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist...more

A Rafale fighter is armed at the Saint Dizier airbase in central France before being deployed in Mali, in this picture provided by the French Military Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) and taken on January 13, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Photo taken January 13, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/SGC. Laure-Anne Maucorps/ECPAD/Handout
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A french soldier patrols at Nice Cote d'azur International airport January 14, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Concerned about reprisals at home, France has tightened security at public buildings and on public transport. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

A french soldier patrols at Nice Cote d'azur International airport January 14, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert...more

A french soldier patrols at Nice Cote d'azur International airport January 14, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Concerned about reprisals at home, France has tightened security at public buildings and on public transport. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
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A French soldier patrols stands guard outside a shop at Nice Cote d'azur International airport January 14, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Concerned about reprisals at home, France has tightened security at public buildings and on public transport. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

A French soldier patrols stands guard outside a shop at Nice Cote d'azur International airport January 14, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on...more

A French soldier patrols stands guard outside a shop at Nice Cote d'azur International airport January 14, 2013. Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels in Mali launched a counter-offensive on Monday after three days of strikes by French fighter jets on their strongholds in the desert north, vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war. Concerned about reprisals at home, France has tightened security at public buildings and on public transport. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
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