Feb. 21 - Street battles erupt in a town in north Mali weeks after it was liberated by French and Malian troops. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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Taking the fight to Islamists in Mali.
French and Malaian forces battle on the streets of Gao just weeks after the town was liberated from al-Qaeda linked Islamists.
For some ten months the town was under control of Sharia law.
Now its the scene of relentless street fighting.
The Islamists returned after a night of explosions and gunfire. In the daylight they are fighting to the finish. France says at least five jihadists were killed -- there were no reports of French casualties.
Wounded soldiers tend to each other.
A resident is asked what he thinks will happen when French forces leave. But in a raging battle there's no time for answers.
French troops were dispatched to Mali to root out rebels. They swiftly retook northern towns last month. But there are growing fears they could become bogged down in a guerrilla conflict as they try to help a weak army combat a determined enemy.
Paris had planned to start withdrawing some of its 4,000 troops next month.