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— Troops from France and Chad moved into Kidal in an effort to secure the strategic north Malian city, a French official said Tuesday, as the international force put further pressure on the Islamic extremists to push them out of their last major bastion of control in the north.

Some 1,800 Chadian troops are holding Kidal city and an unspecified number of French troops were further securing the Kidal airport so that they can bring in more forces, a French military official said Tuesday.

The official was not authorized to be publicly named according to French military policy. Troops have had control of the airport for several days.

The French-led military intervention against advancing Islamic fighters started more than three weeks ago and has pushed quickly into Mali’s north. France’s government fears the region could become a haven for international terrorists.

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