In this picture released by the French Army Communication Audiovisual office (ECPAD) a French legionnaire cleans the barrel of an armored vehicle at an undisclosed location, north of the Malian capital, Bamako, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. French troops pressed northward in Mali toward territory occupied by radical Islamists on Wednesday, military officials said, announcing the start of a land assault that will put soldiers in direct combat "within hours." (AP Photo/Arnaud Roine, ECPAD)

Associated Press
In this picture released by the French Army Communication Audiovisual office (ECPAD) a French legionnaire cleans the barrel of an armored vehicle at an undisclosed location, north of the Malian capital, Bamako, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. French troops pressed northward in Mali toward territory occupied by radical Islamists on Wednesday, military officials said, announcing the start of a land assault that will put soldiers in direct combat "within hours." (AP Photo/Arnaud Roine, ECPAD)
In this picture released by the French Army Communication Audiovisual office (ECPAD) a French legionnaire cleans the barrel of an armored vehicle at an undisclosed location, north of the Malian capital, Bamako, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. French troops pressed northward in Mali toward territory occupied by radical Islamists on Wednesday, military officials said, announcing the start of a land assault that will put soldiers in direct combat "within hours." (AP Photo/Arnaud Roine, ECPAD)
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