DHAKA: French forces say they have entered Kidal in the north of Mali, the last major town they have yet to secure in their drive against Islamist militants.
French forces now control Kidal airport after a number of aircraft, including helicopters, landed there overnight.
Islamist militants were reported to have already left the town and it was unclear who was in charge, reports the BBC.
French and Malian forces have been sweeping north, earlier taking Gao and Timbuktu with almost no resistance.
France - the former colonial power in Mali - launched a military operation this month after Islamist militants appeared to be threatening the south.
French army spokesman Col Thierry Burkhard confirmed that ‘French elements were deployed overnight in Kidal’.
One regional security source told media that French aircraft had landed at Kidal and that ‘protection helicopters are in the sky’.
BDST: 1415 HRS, JAN 30, 2013
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor- firstname.lastname@example.org
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