BAMAKO, Mali - A Malian intelligence agent posted near the central Malian town of Diabaly confirmed that French pilots launched a raid on Monday morning close to the town.

The bombing run marks an expansion of the battle to retake Mali's north. Until Sunday night, the raids had all occurred in distant northern areas. The bombardments near Diabaly follows airstrikes late Sunday 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of the locality, in the rice growing region of Anatola, once the site of a major USAID-funded project.

The agent, who could not be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said that shots rang out near a military base in Diabaly. Soon after, he said French jets flew over the area, dropping bombs.

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