Mali residents detail civilian casualties in Konna

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Malian people welcome French soldiers as they arrive in the city of Sevare, Mali, some 620 kms (385 miles) north of Bamako, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. Mali's military and French forces pushed toward Gao on Friday, in their farthest move north and east since launching an operation two weeks ago to retake land controlled by the rebels, residents and a security official said Friday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

KONNA, Mali (AP) — Residents of a Malian town are describing civilian casualties from airstrikes used by France to drive out Islamic militants.

The Malian military allowed international journalists into Konna on Saturday for the first time since the French-led operation targeted the town two weeks ago.

Souleymane Maiga told The Associated Press how three women and one child died on Jan. 11 when their courtyard was strafed with bullets. One of the women's children survived.

Konna's mayor has confirmed that at least 11 civilians died during the military operation.

French forces launched their offensive a day after the Islamists surged southward and occupied Konna. The rebels were later driven out, and the town is now under the control of the Malian military.