Keyword: Timbuktu

France bombs Islamist militant positions in Mali

French air strikes targeted Islamist positions in northern Mali, west of the city of Timbuktu where an airport came under attack last month.

French forces kill 19 Islamist fighters in north Mali

Deaths come amid new French military operation aimed at pockets of al Qaeda-linked fighters still holding out across the north of Mali.

French and Malian troops engaged by Islamists in Timbuktu

French and Malian troops were engaged this weekend in a battle with Islamist rebels who resurfaced in the northern Mali town of Timbuktu.

With Timbuktu taken, France eyes pullback

Following the recapture of Timbuktu, the last major target in the Franco-Malian drive against Islamist rebels, Paris looks to step down its role.

French troops take Timbuktu airport

French paratroopers have taken control of the airport and roads surrounding fabled Malian desert town of Timbuktu as Islamists flee.

French-led troops march on for key battle of Timbuktu

French and Malian forces secure the northern Mali town of Gao, once an Islamist stronghold, and advance on to the key town of Timbuktu.

The myths and destruction of the tombs of Timbuktu


The name Timbuktu has taken on an almost mythical status in Western thought, one fuelled by the remoteness of the town in Mali. In destroying tombs recently in this “pearl of the desert” an Islamist group has both launched an attack on the holy sites of other Muslims and thrown down a challenge to the West, who recently put the famous town on the UNESCO list of endangered World Heritage sites. In an interview with Joseph Confavreux, French historian Charles Grémont gives the background to current events in Mali and the threat posed to Timbuktu.