PARIS - Islamist rebels have taken control of the town of Diabaly in central Mali, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Monday.

"They took Diabaly ... after fierce fighting and resistance from the Malian army that was not able to hold them off at that moment," Le Drian told BFM television.

However, he said the fighting was continuing and French and Malian forces were fighting to push the rebels out of the area.

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