“French warplanes have carried out air strikes in Mali’s far north as they try to secure the final rebel stronghold of Kidal after a three-week offensive.
Thirty jets targeted Islamist militants’ training and communication centres around Tessalit – a mountainous area near the Algerian border.
French President Francois Hollande has pledged to help rebuild Mali after the rebels who seized its north are beaten.
But there are fears the fighters could re-group in the mountains near Kidal.
It is believed that several French civilian hostages are being held by militants in the area, making the situation even more delicate.
Although French troops captured Kidal’s airport on Wednesday, rebels from a Tuareg group who want their own homeland in northern Mali – the MNLA – still have control of the town itself.