A building housing tens of thousands of manuscripts from the ancient Muslim world and Greece was set aflame, raising fears of further damage to the country’s cultural heritage after months of destruction by radical Islamists.
French paratroopers swooped in to try to block fleeing hardliners as ground troops coming from the south seized the airport of Timbuktu, which has been a bastion of the extremists controlling the north for 10 months.
Timbuktu is a city in Mali, in West Africa, that was founded 1,800 years ago. During Europe’s Middle Ages, it was home to a rich writing tradition that saw the creation of millions of manuscripts, hundreds of thousands of which survive to present day.
Published on Jan 17, 2013
At least 30 hostages and 11 members of an al-Qaeda-affiliated group were killed when Algerian forces stormed a desert gas plant to free the captives, Reuters news agency has quoted an Algerian security source as saying. Eight Algerians and seven foreigners, including two British, two Japanese and a French national, were among the dead, the source said. Al Jazeera’sAlan Fisher reports.