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Originally published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 1:06 AM

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France girds for new threats after Mali operation

France's top security official says the country is ready to prevent new terror attacks after its military operation to push back al-Qaida-linked insurgents grabbing territory in Mali.

The Associated Press

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PARIS —

France's top security official says the country is ready to prevent new terror attacks after its military operation to push back al-Qaida-linked insurgents grabbing territory in Mali.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday that France is well aware of the dangers of terror attacks both inside and outside France, but believed the threat posed by the advance of the militant Islamist fighters was far greater.

Declaring France had "opened the gates of hell" with its assault, the rebels from the Sahel desert region that includes Mali threatened retribution on Monday.

"France is watching individuals who want to go to Afghanistan, Syria and the Sahel. We're watching those who could return here," Valls told the French television network BFM. "We're facing an exterior enemy and an interior enemy."

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