Malian troops stormed houses in the northern city of Gao today in a desperate hunt for jihadists who popped up on Sunday sparking fierce gun battles.
France deployed helicopter gunships to obliterate targets among the 80,000-strong population after irregular local ground forces struggled to end the sudden assault.
A crowd gathered today to inspect the gruesome results of high-tech French weaponry at a former "police" headquarters used by hard-line Islamist groups prior to their ousting.
Body parts and rubble were strewn around the ground at the central location, which was the central focus of a five-hour battle.
Reports suggested that Malian forces struggled to deal with the handful of fighters with AK-47s who sneaked back into the city, declared "secure" by Western-backed forces only two weeks earlier.
Two suicide bombers also attempted to blow up military checkpoints on the outskirts of the city during the attack.
Malian Lieutenant Colonel Nema Sagadam claimed that at least 10 jihadists had been killed, although he could not confirm how many had been involved in total.
At least two civilians died in the city's hospital, according to a doctor there.
Another was killed by a stray bullet while cycling past.
The latest violence comes after troops led by French commandos and air power were said to have pushed militants out of key towns they had occupied for around a year.
An unknown number of guerillas remain in thousands of square miles of arid countryside outside the towns and cities.
They have pledged to continue the fight against the French-backed forces.
However the root of the problem lies in abject poverty in a region known to harbour huge wealth beneath the swirling sands of the Sahara.
Known deposits include uranium used by the French nuclear industry and other precious minerals.
Seventy soldiers from EU member states landed in the Malian capital Bamako today on a mission to beef up the feeble army.
They are the first set of 200 "trainers" deployed by the militaries of 15 European countries.
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The Con-Dems have had it their way too long. We have to turn this country around