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US and Italy Boosting Support of French and Malian Forces

ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images(BAMAKO, Mali) -- In an effort to keep Mali from becoming a haven for terrorists, allies of France are stepping up efforts to assist French forces in turning back al Qaeda-linked militants in that North African country.

The U.S. began sending C-17 transport planes to Mali on Monday with French soldiers and supplies, and continued the flights on Tuesday.  The flights are expected to continue indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Italy's government has approved deploying up to two dozen instructors to help train Malian forces in their battle with Islamist fighters, who have captured much of the country.

Italy also pledged logistical support to the French with cargo planes expected to bring more supplies to Mali.

These developments come on top of Britain and Canada already deploying their own military transport planes.

Meanwhile, the first troops from West Africa nations are expected to arrive in Mali soon with Nigeria preparing to deploy soldiers there.  As many as 3,000 troops from various countries could assist Malian and French forces.

At the United Nations Tuesday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told member nations, "Working with African and international partners, we must do our part to help fully restore Mali's constitutional order and territorial integrity."

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