Couple of IED attacks and suicide bombings and we’ll see a white flag go up.

(Reuters) – France’s armed forces began a military intervention in Mali on Friday to help the government stem a push south 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. “This operation will last as long as is necessary.”

Hollande said United Nations Security Council resolutions meant Francewas acting in accordance with international laws.

Earlier, Hollande had made it clear that France would intervene to stop any further drive southward by Islamist rebels as Malian soldiers launched a counter-offensive to wrest back a town captured by militants this week.