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Tuareg rebels attack towns in north Mali
Tuareg rebels, including former pro-Gadhafi fighters, attack towns in north Mali
By The Associated Press

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) ' A new Tuareg rebel group, whose members include former pro-Gadhafi fighters, says they have launched attacks in several towns in northern Mali. One eyewitness said heavy weapons were being fired and Mali military helicopters have engaged the rebels.

The National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (NMLA) said Tuesday the main fighting is ongoing around the town of Menaka.

Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, one of the leaders of the NMLA, told The Associated Press by telephone from Paris: "Our aim is to liberate these towns." He said he had no information about casualties.

The Malian Defense Ministry and the presidency had no immediate comment.

Members of the Tuareg ethnic group live in several nations in northwest Africa.

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