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US agrees to refuel French warplanes on Mali mission

Published on Jan 27, 2013 9:26 AM
 
Mirage jets of the French army at the 101 airbase in Bamako during a visit of Malian president to the French troops on January 16, 2013. France has deployed 700 troops in and around Paris, Interior Minister Manuel Valls revealed Tuesday in the latest indicator of mounting concern over potential reprisals for military intervention in Mali. Leaders of the militant Islamist groups under attack in the West African state have warned that France has "opened the doors of hell" by unleashing its warplanes and have called on fellow extremists to hit back on French soil. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Pentagon has agreed to refuel French warplanes that are currently conducting operations against Islamist militants in Mali, the US military said in a statement.

President Barack Obama's administration had previously been asked by France for refueling assistance and outgoing US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has now approved the request, Pentagon spokesman George Little said on Saturday.

Obama held telephone talks with French President Francois Hollande on Friday in which the two leaders discussed global security concerns and vowed to work together to tackle extremism across North Africa.

France deployed troops to Mali two weeks ago who have been working with government forces to try to flush out radical Islamist fighters including Al-Qaeda linked rebels who had seized control of several northern towns.

 
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