Mali aid offers pour in; jets bomb north

AFP-JIJI

Mali’s army chief Tuesday said his French-backed forces could reclaim the northern towns of Gao and fabled Timbuktu from Islamists in a month, as more offers of aid poured in.

French planes bombed a major base of the al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb near Timbuktu, a Defense Ministry official said. A mansion belonging to former Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi was destroyed, officials said.

International moves to aid the operations revved up with the U.S. military airlifting French troops and equipment from France into Mali. The U.S. said it would not demand payment from France for the use of U.S. transport planes.