Mali's president has declared a state of emergency on national television a day after Islamists pushed the closest ever from the north toward government-held territory.

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Mali’s president has declared a state of emergency on national television a day after Islamists pushed the closest ever from the north toward government-held territory.

President Dioncounda Traore said late Friday that the declaration would remain in effect for 10 days and could be renewed.

The president called on mining companies and non-government organizations to give up their pickups and other trucks to the Malian military, raising questions about the capacity of the army.

Traore’s emergency declaration comes a day after the Islamists who rule northern Mali seized the central town of Konna, located not far from the last town still under Malian government control.

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On Friday, France also announced it had launched an air operation to aid Malian forces.

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