SEVARE, Mali - Residents of the northern Malian city of Gao are celebrating the arrival of French and Malian forces.
The French-led mission entered Gao over the weekend and took control of the airport and a major bridge and patrolled the town.
Gao, the largest city in northern Mali, had been under the grip of radical Islamists for nearly 10 months.
Gao resident Hassane Maiga, reached on the phone, said jubilant residents joyously greeted the French and Malian troops.
Meanwhile, French and Malian forces are also advancing on the fabled desert town of Timbuktu.
The Islamists seized control of the north after a military coup last March created chaos. So far the French have met little resistance though it remains to be seen whether the Malians can maintain control of the towns.