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French troops seize Mali's Timbuktu

  • French troops seized the city of Timbuktu in Mali after advancing north into an area held by Islamist militants. As the rebels fled, they set fire to a library that contained thousands of ancient manuscripts. Some documents dated back to the 13th century. The city’s mayor, Ousmane Halle, said that ‘they torched all the important ancient manuscripts, which included the ancient books of geography and science. It is the history of Timbuktu, of its people. It's truly alarming that this has happened.’ The militants also systematically destroyed UNESCO World Heritage sites in Timbuktu. Ground forces supported by French paratroopers and helicopters have taken control of Timbuktu’s airport and roads leading to the town.