A welcome show of spine. “France and Mauritania raid Al-Qaeda kidnap gang,” from AFP, July 23 (thanks to Maxwell):
NOUAKCHOTT — French-backed Mauritanian forces attacked and killed six members of an Al-Qaeda affiliated gang allegedly holding a French hostage in the North African desert, officials said Friday.
The French defence ministry said the group was refusing to negotiate the release of a 78-year-old French aid worker kidnapped four months ago, and had been responsible for the murder of a British hostage last year.
Asked about the raid — which some French and Spanish media portrayed as a failed hostage rescue bid — President Nicolas Sarkozy refused to comment.
There was no word on the fate of the French captive, who does not appear to have been present when Thursday’s pre-dawn assault was launched, and Mauritania said that the operation was not intended as a rescue….
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is the North African affiliate of Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden’s loose network of Islamist groups.
In Paris, the defence ministry confirmed “that the French military provided technical and logistical support to a Mauritanian operation designed to thwart an attack on Mauritania by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.”….