[Updated 11:55 a.m. ET] French Defense Ministry spokesman Thierry Burkhardt says French and Malian forces are now in control of Timbuktu and Gao.
[Posted at 4:30 a.m. ET] French-led troops in Mali have seized control of the airport in Timbuktu from Islamist militants and are fighting their way into the city center, a spokesman for the Malian military said Monday.
Malian and French forces have together been battling the Islamists to loosen their grip on the country's north, which the militants have controlled for months.
The United States has also stepped up its involvement in the conflict by conducting aerial refueling missions on top of the intelligence and airlift support it was providing.FULL STORY