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Ivory Coast: French forces take over Abidjan airport

By BBC
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French troops have taken over the airport in Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan, the AFP news agency reports.

France is also sending an extra 300 soldiers to Ivory Coast, military spokesman Thierry Burkhard told AFP.

Fighting has raged in Abidjan since Thursday night as forces loyal to the UN-recognised president, Alassane Ouattara, are battling those of his rival, the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo.

More than 1,500 foreigners are sheltering in a French army camp.

Heavy artillery fire has been heard in Abidjan as the two sides fought for key sites including the presidential palace, the headquarters of state TV and the Agban military base.

Four UN soldiers were seriously wounded by Mr Gbagbo's forces on Saturday.

Wounded soldiers loyal to Mr Ouattara were seen being rushed to a hospital outside the city, while confident-looking reinforcements headed the other way.

Special forces troops loyal to Mr Gbagbo fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a UN armoured personnel carrier, seriously wounding four peacekeepers carrying out a humanitarian mission, the UN said.