BAMAKO, Mali - French soldiers have launched an operation to help the government of Mali defeat al-Qaeda-linked militants who captured more ground this week.
French President Francois Hollande said his country acted yesterday because the "terrorists are a threat to France, to Europe and the world". He said the operation would last "as long as necessary".
France said it was taking the action in Mali at the request of President Dioncounda Traore, who declared a state of emergency because of the militants' advance.
The arrival of the French troops in their former colony yesterday came a day after the Islamists moved the closest yet towards territory still under government control.