TULLE, France, Jan 19 (Reuters) - France's military intervention in Mali will last as long as it takes to overcome terrorism in the region, President Francois Hollande said on Saturday.
"People often ask how long this will last. I reply, the time it takes. The time it takes to vanquish terrorism in this area," he said.
Hollande, who ordered French fighter jets into action in Mali a week ago to halt an Islamist advance, also said a hostage crisis at a desert gas plant in Algeria offered further evidence that France's action in the region was justified.
He said attempts by the Algerian authorities to root out the hostage-takers were under way but that reports were now coming in that the operation had come to an end.
"Hostages have been killed, assassinated in cowardly fashion," Hollande said.