French and Malian troops are in control of the city of Gao, a military spokesman confirmed today.
Mali defence spokesman Colonel Diarran Kone said that their forces have taken a key bridge as well as Gao's airport, marking the biggest advance yet in the effort to retake the north.
French-led troops were advancing on Timbuktu today after capturing a string of other towns.
Meanwhile, African leaders talked about increasing the number of African soldiers to join the offensive, after the African Union (AU) chief said the body had not done enough.
Outgoing chairman Boni Yayi said: "I want to salute France," concluding that the AU response had been slow and France's action was something "we should have done a long time ago."
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