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Al-Qaida Affiliated Groups Claim Responsibility for Kidnappings in West Africa

A terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaida is claiming responsibility for last month's kidnapping of three Spanish aid workers in Mauritania and a Frenchman in Mali.   The Algerian-based group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb made the kidnapping claim in an audio tape given to the Al Jazeera television network. A man identifying himself as Saleh Abu Mohammad says that France and Spain will be informed later about the kidnappers' demands. Spain says it can not confirm the validity of the claim, but is investigating the report. Three Spanish aid workers were kidnapped November 29 sout

Mauritania Launches Mission to Rescue Kidnapped Workers

Mauritanian authorities have launched an operation to find three Spanish aid workers kidnapped by armed gunmen.  Sunday's abduction was the latest in a string of attacks on foreign aid workers and tourists in the West African country. Albert Vilalta, Roque Pascual, and Alicia Gamez were kidnapped by armed men on Sunday, 150 kilometers north of Mauritania's capital Nouakchott.  The Spanish aid workers were in Mauritania with the aid group Barcelona Accion Solidaria. Spain's ambassador to Mauritania Alonso Dezcallar y Mazarredo says Mauritanian authorities are using every possible means to