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Associated Press
France's President Francois Hollande  leaves after delivering a speech on the situation in Mali at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. French forces began backing Malian soldiers Friday in their fight against radical Islamists, drawing the former colonial power into a military operation to oust the al-Qaida-linked militants nine months after they seized control of northern Mali.  French President Francois Hollande said  that the operation would last "as long as necessary" and said it was aimed notably at protecting the 6,000 French citizens in Mali. Kidnappers currently hold seven French hostages in the country.  (AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)

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