> > 法军已进入伊斯兰叛军最后占据的基达尔城
French forces say they have entered Kidal in the north of Mali.
Kidal airport in August 2012, when it was under the control of Ansar Dine
A number of French aircraft, including helicopters, had landed overnight at Kidal airport.
Islamist militants were reported to have already left the town and it was unclear who was in control.
French and Malian forces have been sweeping north, earlier taking Gao and Timbuktu with almost no resistance.
France - the former colonial power in Mali - launched a military operation this month after Islamist militants appeared to be threatening the south.
French army spokesman Col Thierry Burkhard confirmed that "French elements were deployed overnight in Kidal".
One regional security source told Agence France-Presse that French aircraft had landed at Kidal and that "protection helicopters are in the sky".
Kidal, 1,500km north-east of the capital Bamako, was until recently under the control of the Ansar Dine Islamist group.
However, the Islamic Movement of Azawad (IMA), which recently split from Ansar Dine, said it was now in charge in Kidal, although the Tuareg group - the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad - also claims control.
An MNLA spokesman told the BBC its fighters had entered the city on Saturday and there were no Islamist militants there.
Some reports say Ansar Dine leader Iyad Ag Ghaly and Abou Zeid, of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, have moved to the mountainous region north of Kidal.
A spokesman for the IMA confirmed the French arrival in the town and said that its leader was now in talks with them.
The IMA recently said it rejected "extremism and terrorism" and wanted a peaceful solution.
The MNLA has also said it is prepared to work with the French "to eradicate terrorist groups" in the north but that it would not allow the return of the Malian army, which it accused of "crimes against the civilian population".