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French troops patrol on January 30, 2013 along the Niger river in the... News Photo2012-2013 Northern Mali Conflict,Al-Qaida,Army,Awe,Castle,City,Conflict,Desert,French Culture,Gao City,Gao Region,Horizontal,Islam,Mali,Military Attack,Niger River,North,Outdoors,Rebellion,VitalityPhotographer Collection: AFP 2013 AFPFrench troops patrol on January 30, 2013 along the Niger river in the northern city of Gao, a key Islamist stronghold until it was retaken on January 26 by French and Malian troops in a major boost to the French-led offensive against the Al Qaeda-linked rebels, who have been holding Mali's vast desert north since last April. French troops on January 30 entered Kidal, the last Islamist bastion in Mali's north after a whirlwind Paris-led offensive, as France urged peace talks to douse ethnic tensions targeting Arabs and Tuaregs. AFP PHOTO/ SIA KAMBOU (Photo credit should read SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images)