Security forces loyal to Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo launched an assault to flush out fighters backing rival presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara from an Abidjan suburb, a source at military headquarters told Reuters.
The attack was the first time that helicopters were deployed in support of an operation in the Abobo neighbourhood, the site of violent clashes between the two sides over recent weeks. The sources said some 600 soldiers were involved in the assault.
Gbagbo has refused to step down after a November election which Ouattara won according to UN-certified results. Ensuing violence has claimed several hundred lives and prompted close to half a million Ivorians across the country to flee their homes.