BAMAKO  - Heavy weapons fire broke out Saturday as Tuareg rebels entered Gao, the main city of northeast Mali, a local official said Saturday. "We can hear firing from heavy weapons. We also saw two army helicopters taking off" to combat the rebels who have made rapid advances in recent days, regional governor's aide Mahamane Diakite told AFP by telephone. “Heavy gunshots were heard as the rebels stormed the main city of northeast Mali while army helicopters were seen taking off to fight the militants who made rapid advances.”