POSTED: Monday, February 11, 2013 - 10:00am
UPDATED: Monday, February 11, 2013 - 10:04am
NBC News — A surprise attack was launched sunday, two weeks after French and local troops ousted suspected jihadists from Mali. Extremists armed with automatic rifles invaded the most populous city, Gao, in northern Mali. They arrived on wooden boats and fired for hours on the city.
The radicals fought Malian forces who were armed with rocket-propelled grenades. French military helicopters hovered overhead as thousands of residents fled the area. This was the first time the rebels were able to enter the strategic city and highlights the continued difficulties in regaining government control in Mali.