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Malian soldiers pray in the desert on April 7, 2013 some 105... NachrichtenfotoBeten,Horizontal,Kilometer,Konflikt,Mali,Region Gao,Stadt Gao,Trooper,WüstePhotographer Collection: AFP 2013 AFPMalian soldiers pray in the desert on April 7, 2013 some 105 kilometers North of Gao. A French force of 1,000 soldiers has begun a sweep of a river valley thought to be a logistics base for armed Islamists near the Malian city of Gao, an AFP journalist accompanying the mission said. Operation Gustav, one of France's largest actions since its intervention against insurgents in January, will involve dozens of tanks, helicopters, drones and airplanes, said General Bernard Barrera, commander of the French land forces in Mali. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)