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Gunbattle rocks Gao after rebels surprise French, Malians

A Tuareg soldier in the Malian army aims his rifle at a checkpoint along a road leading to the border with Niger in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

A Tuareg soldier in the Malian army aims his rifle at a checkpoint along a road leading to the border with Niger in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

A Tuareg soldier in the Malian army aims his rifle at a checkpoint along a road leading to the border with Niger in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay
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A Tuareg soldier in the Malian army aims his rifle at a checkpoint along a road leading to the border with Niger in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

A Tuareg soldier in the Malian army aims his rifle at a checkpoint along a road leading to the border with Niger in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

A Tuareg soldier in the Malian army aims his rifle at a checkpoint along a road leading to the border with Niger in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay
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A Tuareg soldier in the Malian army aims his rifle at a checkpoint along a road leading to the border with Niger in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

A Tuareg soldier in the Malian army aims his rifle at a checkpoint along a road leading to the border with Niger in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

A Tuareg soldier in the Malian army aims his rifle at a checkpoint along a road leading to the border with Niger in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay
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Tuareg soldiers in the Malian army take a rest in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

Tuareg soldiers in the Malian army take a rest in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

Tuareg soldiers in the Malian army take a rest in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay
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Tuareg soldiers in the Malian army rest in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

Tuareg soldiers in the Malian army rest in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

Tuareg soldiers in the Malian army rest in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay
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A Nigerien soldier rides atop an armoured vehicle during a patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. The soldiers are part of the AFISMA force of West African armies, which are due to send more than 8,000 men to Mali to aid in the country's fight against Islamist militants. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

A Nigerien soldier rides atop an armoured vehicle during a patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. The soldiers are part of the AFISMA force of West African armies, which are due to send more than 8,000 men to Mali to aid in the...more

A Nigerien soldier rides atop an armoured vehicle during a patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. The soldiers are part of the AFISMA force of West African armies, which are due to send more than 8,000 men to Mali to aid in the country's fight against Islamist militants. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay
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French soldiers patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

French soldiers patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

French soldiers patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay
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A Nigerien soldier rides atop an armoured vehicle during a patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. The soldiers are part of the AFISMA force of West African armies, which are due to send more than 8,000 men to Mali to aid in the country's fight against Islamist militants. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

A Nigerien soldier rides atop an armoured vehicle during a patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. The soldiers are part of the AFISMA force of West African armies, which are due to send more than 8,000 men to Mali to aid in the...more

A Nigerien soldier rides atop an armoured vehicle during a patrol in the northern city of Gao, Mali February 9, 2013. The soldiers are part of the AFISMA force of West African armies, which are due to send more than 8,000 men to Mali to aid in the country's fight against Islamist militants. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay
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