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Mali towns marked by fighting, airstrikes

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BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- French special forces inched closer to an al-Qaida-held town, fighting erupted in another center and army troops raced to protect a third, as the Islamic extremists controlling northern Mali ceded no ground Thursday, digging into the areas they already occupy and sending out scouts to widen their reach. Banamba, a town just 90 miles (144 kilometers) from the capital,...

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