12 Qaeda members killed in clash

The clash is the latest sign of an escalation in the battle between Saharan countries and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the chief suspect in the kidnapping of seven foreigners, including five French citizens, in Niger on Thursday.

The fighting continued on Saturday as Mauritanian forces encircled around 20 AQIM vehicles in the border area. In addition to those killed, four Mauritanian troops were also wounded in the fighting. “The operation was launched because the opportunity presented itself. It was not planned in advance,” said another source.

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