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Pictures | Thu Feb 21, 2013 | 5:46pm EST

French, Malian forces fight Islamist rebels in Gao

A Malian soldier runs past smoke from a petrol station on fire during fighting with Islamists in Gao February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A Malian soldier runs past smoke from a petrol station on fire during fighting with Islamists in Gao February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

A Malian soldier runs past smoke from a petrol station on fire during fighting with Islamists in Gao February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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French soldiers take up positions near Independence Plaza, formerly Sharia Square, during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)

French soldiers take up positions near Independence Plaza, formerly Sharia Square, during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday,...more

French soldiers take up positions near Independence Plaza, formerly Sharia Square, during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)
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Malian soldiers walk past French soldiers crouching near Sharia Square, now renamed Independence Plaza, during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces.REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)

Malian soldiers walk past French soldiers crouching near Sharia Square, now renamed Independence Plaza, during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded...more

Malian soldiers walk past French soldiers crouching near Sharia Square, now renamed Independence Plaza, during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces.REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)
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French soldiers take up positions near Independence Plaza, formerly Sharia Square, during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)

French soldiers take up positions near Independence Plaza, formerly Sharia Square, during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday,...more

French soldiers take up positions near Independence Plaza, formerly Sharia Square, during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)
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Malian soldiers patrol the main market in Gao February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: SOCIETY MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)

Malian soldiers patrol the main market in Gao February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: SOCIETY MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)

Malian soldiers patrol the main market in Gao February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: SOCIETY MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)
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Malian soldiers patrol the streets of Gao February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Malian soldiers patrol the streets of Gao February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Malian soldiers patrol the streets of Gao February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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A Malian soldier stands guard at the port in Gao February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)

A Malian soldier stands guard at the port in Gao February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)

A Malian soldier stands guard at the port in Gao February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)
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A Malian soldier looks on during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)

A Malian soldier looks on during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before...more

A Malian soldier looks on during fighting with Islamists in Gao, February 21, 2013. French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Thursday, as fighting showed little sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some forces. REUTERS/Joe Penney (MALI - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)
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