France is tripling the number of troops deployed to Mali to 2,500, part of the massive preparation for a land assault to dislodge the Islamist extremists occupying the West African country’s north.
The increased total of French troops was confirmed in Paris Tuesday by a French Ministry of Defense official, who refused to give his name because he was not authorized to speak.
Despite a punishing, five-day campaign of aerial bombardments, the al Qaeda-linked rebels have continued to advance south, seizing a strategic military camp in central Mali, and embedding themselves in villages of thatched roofs, making it impossible to bomb without killing civilians. . .