French aircraft pounded Islamist rebels in Mali for a second day on Saturday and neighboring West African states sped up their plans to deploy troops in an international campaign to prevent groups linked to al Qaeda expanding their power base.
France, warning that the control of northern Mali by the militants posed a security threat to Europe, intervened dramatically on Friday as heavily armed Islamist fighters swept southwards towards Mali’s capital Bamako.
France terror alert after Mali, Somali operations. Al Qaeda threatens hostages
French President Francois Hollande placed the country on high domestic terror alert Saturday, Jan. 12. lest al Qaeda retaliate for French operations against two of its Africa wings: a failed mission to rescue a French hostage from the Somali Shabaab rebels and air and commando aid to the Mali government’s drive against advancing Islamists. He made the announcement after a special war cabinet session in Paris.
DEBKAfile reported earlier Saturday.
French special forces failed early Saturday, Jan. 12, to rescue a hostage from the hands of the Qaeda-linked Somali Shabaab, while a second French air and commando force continued operations in support of the Mali government‘s drive to arrest an Islamist advance.