02/04/2013 03:42 EST | Updated 04/05/2013 05:12 EDT

French airstrikes target Islamist extremists' depots in northern Mali

PARIS - France's foreign minister says new French airstrikes are targeting fuel depots and bases of Islamist extremists in northern Mali.

Laurent Fabius said on French radio Monday that the strikes hit the Kidal region overnight, near the border with Algeria. It's part of a broader effort to cut off supplies to radical fighters who had taken over much of the African country and enforced harsh rules on the population.

Fabius said on France-Inter radio, "They cannot stay there a long time unless they have new supplies."

The French intervened in Mali on Jan. 11 to stem the advance of the al-Qaida-linked fighters.

Fabius also said that France wants African forces to assume security responsibility for the historic city of Timbuktu "very fast," perhaps as soon as Tuesday.