(Reuters) Al Qaeda-linked Islamists in Mali threatened on Saturday to “open the doors of hell” for French citizens if France kept pushing for armed intervention to retake the rebel-held north.

The renewed threats against French hostages and expatriates came as French-speaking nations met in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where French President Francois Hollande was expected to urge the rapid deployment of an African-led force to rout the Islamists.

Hollande said the threat would not deter France’s determination to quash the Islamists in Mali.

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