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This handout picture relased and taken on January 13, 2013 by French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) shows a French Rafale fighter jet landing in N'djamena after pounding militant strongholds of Gao and Kidal in northern Mali. -AFP Photo

BRUSSELS: Nato said Monday it supported French efforts to turn back the terrorist threat in Mali but that the alliance had received no request for assistance and had not discussed the conflict.

“We welcome the efforts of the international community in support of the implementation of the United Nations ... resolution 2085 (on Mali),” a Nato spokesperson said.

“France has taken swift action to roll back the offensive of the terrorist groups in Mali,” the spokesperson said.

“We are hopeful that such efforts will help to restore the rule of law in Mali and ... roll back the threat” of groups which threaten the “security and stability of the country, the region and beyond.”

At the same time, Nato stressed this was a national operation, carried out by France, and there had been no request for assistance nor had there been a “discussion within Nato of this crisis.”

"So far, the operation in Mali is a national operation in support of Mali. It was decided by the French government.... Nato is not involved in that."

On Monday, militant forces based in northern Mali vowed to avenge France's fierce military offensive against them after a series of French air strikes inflicted heavy casualties.

Militants on Monday seized control of a town in a fresh attack in Mali's government-held south and vowed to strike “at the heart” of France as it waged a fourth day of air strikes against them.