As a new round of French military strikes targeted Islamist rebels in Mali on Sunday, both sides of the fight said they were determined to win.
French fighter jets bombed rebel training camps and other targets in northern Mali, France's Defense Ministry said in a statement.
"France's goal is to lead a relentless struggle against terrorist groups," the ministry said, "preventing any new offensive of these groups to the south of Mali."
Sunday's air raids were the latest in French efforts supporting Malian government forces battling militant Islamist forces. Additionally, France has several hundred ground troops in Mali, where they may soon be joined by hundreds of troops from nearby African nations.
The U.N. Security Council -- at France's request -- will hold consultations Monday on the situation in Mali, according to France's U.N. mission.
As those talks proceed, so too will French air strikes, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Radio Europe 1.
"We have to eradicate this terrorism," he said.
Islamist rebels in Mali acknowledged Sunday they suffered heavy losses in fights with the country's military and French troops -- but it wouldn't stop them.
"This is a holy war. The deaths are normal," Sanda Ould Boumama, spokesman for the al Qaeda-linked rebel group Ansar Dine, told CNN by phone.
"Our fighters are prepared to die for our cause."
One of Ansar Dine's lieutenants, Iyad Ag Ghaly, was killed in the fight over the central town of Konna, security sources said.
Insurgents took the town Thursday but retreated the next day after a combined air and ground assault.
"The war has only started," said Boumama. "We expect more casualties."
He accused the French military of attacking Malians.
"Now the world can see that it's the French who are the real terrorists," he said.
But French and Malian military officials say the assaults are against rebel strongholds, not civilians. It was unclear whether there were any casualties Sunday.
Residents in the northern town of Gao said they heard fighter jets' roar and bomb blasts at a nearby Islamist rebel base. France's Defense Ministry said they "destroyed" multiple "bases for terrorist groups" in the area Sunday.
"It's still dangerous, even if they're not targeting the population," Habib Maiga, a teacher in Gao, said of the strikes. "For the moment, the town is calm. Everyone is still inside, expecting a new attack."
Bodies lay on a road between the town and Islamist base, said Vieux Dada, another teacher in Gao.
"I believe they were Islamist fighters who tried to flee," he said.