PARIS, Jan 11 (Reuters) - France's armed forces began a military intervention in Mali on Friday afternoon to help the government there stem a push southwards by Islamist rebels who control much of the north, President Francois Hollande said.
"French forces brought their support this afternoon to Malian army units to fight against terrorist elements," Hollande told reporters in Paris. "This operation will last as long as is necessary."
Hollande added that United Nations Security Council resolutions meant France was acting in accordance with international laws.
(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Writing by Catherine Bremer)