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Malian teenagers watch a convoy of French military vehicles pass through Gao, northern Mali, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013. A French soldier has been confirmed dead during a military operation in northern Mali, French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Fierce fighting rages in Mali

French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao

and a car bomb exploded in Kidal on Feb. 21, as fighting showed little

sign of abating weeks before France plans to start withdrawing some