This morning French president François Hollande said that France would be ready to stop Islamist rebels from advancing further south:
This comes after Mali requested French military aid on Thursday, January tenth. This afternoon the French president indicated that France had intervened in Mali:"We are faced with a blatant aggression that is threatening Mali's very existence. France cannot accept this. We will be ready to stop the terrorists' offensive if it continues."
It has been noted by the French president that France is acting in accordance with international law. I wonder to what extent France will engage in this conflict."French forces brought their support this afternoon to Malian army units to fight against terrorist elements,"
"This operation will last as long as is necessary."
For more:On Friday afternoon, SPIEGEL ONLINE observed camouflaged Transall cargo planes landing and taking off at the airport, though it was impossible to make out whether they bore French markings. Likewise, two combat helicopters set down at the airport, which has now become the last line of defense for the government forces.
The military has completely closed Sevare off to the media. But residents reached by phone on Friday morning reported having seen French special forces troops in the city. Speaking on condition of anonymity, several Malian officers confirmed the arrival of a small group of elite French soldiers, explaining that they are supposed to help the Malian army in its efforts to drive back the Islamists.
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France and West Pledge Support after Islamists Start Offensive in Mali - SPIEGEL ONLINE