French president defends Mali war after attacks

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Associated Press

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 2:30 AM

Updated Friday, May 24 at 3:04 AM

PARIS (AP) — France's president says his country must fight harder against terrorists in Africa, after two suicide bombings apparently staged by extremists angry over the French military intervention in Mali.

Francois Hollande, in a sweeping speech Friday on this nuclear-armed country's military doctrine, said, "We will stay in Mali and around Mali because we haven't finished with terrorism."

He said the twin attacks in Niger on Thursday — including one on a French-operated uranium mine — are "additional proof" that France should help African countries "confronted with this plague of terrorism."

The carefully planned attacks in Niger killed 26 people, and a surviving attacker took a group of Niger soldiers hostage. An al-Qaida spinoff, MUJAO, claimed responsibility. MUJAO is among those targeted by a 4-month-old French-led military operation in Mali.

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