This picture released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) shows French soldiers of the 21st Marine Infantry Regiment preparing to board for Bamako, the capital from Mali, at the N'Djamena's airport, in Chad, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. The battle to retake Mali's north from the al-Qaida-linked groups controlling it began in earnest Saturday, after hundreds of French forces deployed to the country and began aerial bombardments to drive back the Islamic extremists from a town seized earlier this week. (AP Photo/ R.Nicolas-Nelson, Ecpad)
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