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Associated Press
FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2012 file photo, fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamist group Ansar Dine leave after performing a public amputation, severing the hand of a young man found guilty of stealing rice, in Timbuktu, Mali. France launched a military operation Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 to help the government of Mali defeat al-Qaida-linked militants who captured more ground this week, dramatically raising the stakes in the battle for this vast desert nation. (AP Photo/File)

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