French Defense Minister: France in ‘Real War’ Against Mali Extremists

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says France is in a “real war” in northern Mali.

Le Drian told France’s Europe 1 radio Wednesday that French and Malian forces are coming up against residual jihadist groups outside the major cities of Timbuktu and Gao.

French and Malian troops recaptured both towns last month from Islamic militants, who fled into the surrounding desert.

France says it hopes to start pulling its soldiers out of Mali next month if conditions on the …