SEVARE, Mali — Islamist extremists torched a library containing historic manuscripts in Timbuktu, the mayor said Monday, as French and Malian forces closed in on Mali’s fabled desert city.
Ousmane Halle said he heard about the burnings early Monday.
“It’s truly alarming that this has happened,” he told The Associated Press by telephone from Mali’s capital, Bamako, on Monday. “They torched all the important ancient manuscripts. The ancient books of geography and science. It is the history of Timbuktu, of its people.”
He said he did not have details or whether the rebels were still in the town.
Ground forces backed by French paratroopers and helicopters took control of Timbuktu’s airport and the roads leading to the town in an overnight operation, a French military official said Monday. It marked the latest success in the two-week-old French mission to oust radical Islamists from the northern half of Mali…
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