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Pictures | Mon Jan 21, 2013 | 3:57pm EST

French troops take central Mali towns, rebels slip away

Charred pickup trucks destroyed by French airstrikes are seen in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013. The town of Diabaly was retaken by French and Malian forces after al Qaeda-linked rebels took over the town a week ago. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT)

Charred pickup trucks destroyed by French airstrikes are seen in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013. The town of Diabaly was retaken by French and Malian forces after al Qaeda-linked rebels took over the town a week ago. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags:...more

Charred pickup trucks destroyed by French airstrikes are seen in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013. The town of Diabaly was retaken by French and Malian forces after al Qaeda-linked rebels took over the town a week ago. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT)
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French soldiers stand in front of charred pickup trucks used by Islamist rebels in Diabaly January 21, 2013. French and Malian armoured columns rolled into the central Mali town of Diabaly on Monday after the al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels who seized it a week ago melted into the bush to avoid air strikes. The pickup trucks were destroyed during fighting between the Malian army and rebels. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers stand in front of charred pickup trucks used by Islamist rebels in Diabaly January 21, 2013. French and Malian armoured columns rolled into the central Mali town of Diabaly on Monday after the al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels who...more

French soldiers stand in front of charred pickup trucks used by Islamist rebels in Diabaly January 21, 2013. French and Malian armoured columns rolled into the central Mali town of Diabaly on Monday after the al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels who seized it a week ago melted into the bush to avoid air strikes. The pickup trucks were destroyed during fighting between the Malian army and rebels. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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A Malian soldier points his gun at an oncoming vehicle, prompting the driver to slow down, at a checkpoint in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013. The town of Diabaly was retaken by French and Malian forces after al Qaeda-linked rebels took over the town a week ago. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT)

A Malian soldier points his gun at an oncoming vehicle, prompting the driver to slow down, at a checkpoint in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013. The town of Diabaly was retaken by French and Malian forces after al Qaeda-linked rebels took over the town...more

A Malian soldier points his gun at an oncoming vehicle, prompting the driver to slow down, at a checkpoint in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013. The town of Diabaly was retaken by French and Malian forces after al Qaeda-linked rebels took over the town a week ago. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT)
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A French soldier stands guard as a villager looks on in front of charred pickup trucks used by Islamist rebels in Diabaly January 21, 2013. French and Malian armoured columns rolled into the central Mali town of Diabaly on Monday after the al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels who seized it a week ago melted into the bush to avoid air strikes. The pickup trucks were destroyed during fighting between the Malian army and rebels. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A French soldier stands guard as a villager looks on in front of charred pickup trucks used by Islamist rebels in Diabaly January 21, 2013. French and Malian armoured columns rolled into the central Mali town of Diabaly on Monday after the al...more

A French soldier stands guard as a villager looks on in front of charred pickup trucks used by Islamist rebels in Diabaly January 21, 2013. French and Malian armoured columns rolled into the central Mali town of Diabaly on Monday after the al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels who seized it a week ago melted into the bush to avoid air strikes. The pickup trucks were destroyed during fighting between the Malian army and rebels. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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A building hit by a French airstrike is seen at a Malian military camp in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013. French airstrikes hit the camp a week ago after it was taken over by al Qaeda-linked rebels. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT)

A building hit by a French airstrike is seen at a Malian military camp in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013. French airstrikes hit the camp a week ago after it was taken over by al Qaeda-linked rebels. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CIVIL UNREST...more

A building hit by a French airstrike is seen at a Malian military camp in Diabaly, Mali, January 21, 2013. French airstrikes hit the camp a week ago after it was taken over by al Qaeda-linked rebels. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT)
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French soldiers stand on a tank in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers stand on a tank in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers stand on a tank in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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Malians display a picture of French President Francois Hollande for sale at a market in Bamako January 20, 2013. French troops in armoured vehicles advanced on Sunday towards a central Malian town abandoned by Islamist rebels after days of air strikes, moving cautiously for fear of guerrilla-style counterattacks by the al Qaeda-linked fighters. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Malians display a picture of French President Francois Hollande for sale at a market in Bamako January 20, 2013. French troops in armoured vehicles advanced on Sunday towards a central Malian town abandoned by Islamist rebels after days of air...more

Malians display a picture of French President Francois Hollande for sale at a market in Bamako January 20, 2013. French troops in armoured vehicles advanced on Sunday towards a central Malian town abandoned by Islamist rebels after days of air strikes, moving cautiously for fear of guerrilla-style counterattacks by the al Qaeda-linked fighters. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
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French army Lieutenant Colonel Frederic (C) and Malian army Colonel Seydou Sokoba answer questions from journalists in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French army Lieutenant Colonel Frederic (C) and Malian army Colonel Seydou Sokoba answer questions from journalists in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French army Lieutenant Colonel Frederic (C) and Malian army Colonel Seydou Sokoba answer questions from journalists in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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A Malian soldier peeks through a doorway behind which Malian and French soldiers are stationed in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A Malian soldier peeks through a doorway behind which Malian and French soldiers are stationed in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A Malian soldier peeks through a doorway behind which Malian and French soldiers are stationed in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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A French soldier is reflected in the mirror of a military jeep in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A French soldier is reflected in the mirror of a military jeep in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A French soldier is reflected in the mirror of a military jeep in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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French soldiers chat and play cards in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers chat and play cards in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

French soldiers chat and play cards in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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A French soldier sends a text message in front of a restaurant in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A French soldier sends a text message in front of a restaurant in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A French soldier sends a text message in front of a restaurant in Niono January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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