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.
(Reuters) – Youths fought Egyptian police in Cairo and Alexandria on Friday on the second anniversary of the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak and brought the election of an Islamist president who protesters accuse of riding roughshod over the new democracy.
French officials conceded, however, that there were disputes over how African participation would be financed and about the best way to transport troops to Mali. In Paris, French officials said the United States, while willing to help ferry African troops, wanted to bill France for the use of transport aircraft, which officials said would not go down well with the French. The Pentagon favors providing rapid help with transport and even with air-to-air refueling, but the White House is more reluctant, the officials said.