|Rebels' raid poses Mali guerrilla war threat for French||
GAO, Mali (Reuters) - Malian troops hunted house-to-house in Gao on Monday for insurgents whose surprise attack inside the northern town at the weekend posed a risk of France's forces becoming entangled in a messy guerrilla war in Mali.
Sneaking across the Niger River under cover of darkness, the Al-Qaeda-allied rebels fought Malian and French troops on Sunday in the sandy streets of the ancient Saharan trading town, retaken from the rebels two weeks ago.
Malian Defense Minister Yamoussa Camara said three of the rebel raiders were killed and 11 taken prisoner, while some Malian soldiers were wounded in the street fighting.
A doctor in Gao's hospital, Noulaye Djiteyi, said three civilians were killed and 11 injured by gunshot wounds. The casualties were hit by stray bullets in the gun battle.
The brazenness of the rebel raid, which followed successive blasts by two suicide bombers at a northern checkpoint, came as a surprise to the French-led military operation in Mali which had so far faced little real resistance from the rebels.
It indicated that the French forces, which have 4,000 soldiers on the ground in Mali in an intervention now in its fifth week, were vulnerable to hit-and-run guerrilla attacks by the jihadists to the rear of the French forward lines.
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