Official: Mali Islamists move closer to military-held town, raising fears they will push south

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A military official in Mali says Islamists who seized the northern half of the country are moving closer toward areas under government control.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said late Monday that Islamists from the north had reached the village of Bourei, only 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the last town under the purview of Mali's military.

The insurgent advance reignites long-held fears that the al-Qaida-linked militants could try to move into southern Mali.

Mali's government lost control of the northern half of the country in April.

The U.N. Security Council has authorized military action to wrest the north back but says there must first be political progress made following a military coup last year.