|photo from facebook/INFOSDEFENSE.COM - Opération Serval - Mali|
The air raids were carried out by four French Rafale fighter jets. Well placed sources told Xinhua that the training grounds, the infrastructure and the logistical bases used by rebels were destroyed.
In the coming days, the Malian ground forces supported by troops from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are expected to comb the area to eliminate the remaining pockets of resistance.
A number of eyewitnesses told Xinhua on phone that following bombardments by four fighter jets in Gao, the rebels fled from the region's small town of Askia. The youths in Gao were "celebrating" in town, promising to support the army to chase away the rebels from the area.
Other eyewitnesses told Xinhua that fear was spreading in Timbuktu and Kidal, the two other northern towns occupied by rebels, that the flare could expand further soon.
On Sunday, the rebels were seen surrounding the local airport in Timbuktu, while efforts to get information from Kidal bore no fruit as the region's communication channels were cut off from the rest of the world.
Fierce fighting erupted between rebels and the Malian army in the central town of Konna. On Friday, France confirmed the intervention of its troops to stop rebels from advancing towards the government-held South.
Editor: Lu Hui