French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday that a total of 750 troops are taking part in the offensive against Islamist rebels in Mali and their number would increase. French sources say up to 2,500 men. During a visit to the French Middle East military base, Peace Camp in Abu Dhabi, Hollande said French overnight strikes “achieved their goal.” French sources commented that the rebels’ conquest Monday of the western town of Diabali "was not a setback.”
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed that the US was backing French forces in Mali. "One is obviously to provide limited logistical support, two is to provide intelligence support and three to provide some airlift capability," Panetta stressed during a press briefing: "We have made a commitment that al-Qaeda is not going to find any place to hide."