Jan. 13 - France has rushed to help Mali block a push south by Islamist rebels from its desert north. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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The French Air Force adds muscle to its mission in Mali.
French fighter jets are pounding an Islamist rebel stronghold deep in northern Mali.
France is determined to end Islamist domination of north, which many fear could serve a base for attacks on the West
In Bamako people are doing what they can to help out.
They are donating their blood.
Officials say they have already collected more than 1,000 pouches of blood.
On the streets some say they are grateful to France.
(SOUNDBITE)(Bambara) IBRAHIM SIDIBE, COFFE SHOP CLIENT, SAYING:
"We have an army, but they don't have the force to fight the Islamists. I don't know what we would have done if the French didn't come."
Senior military officials from Mali visit troops who are fighting rebels alongside French forces.
For more than two decades peaceful elections earned Mali a reputation as a bulwark of democracy on the Continent. That image unraveled in a matter of weeks after a military coup in March -- which left a power vacuum for the Islamist rebellion and an uncertain future for the country.
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