Monday, September 20, 2010

Mauritanian army continues fighting with AQIM

Heavy fighting between the Mauritanian army and members of the North African wing of Al Qaeda (AQIM) continued since their first encounter 24 hours before.

Mauritanian military sources told Xinhua that the army fighter jets bombed the terrorist organization's hideouts in the northern parts of Mali.

The resumption of fighting came after a let-up announced by Mauritania's Defense Ministry in a statement released here on Saturday.

According to the statement, the confrontations on Friday and Saturday were a "preventive action" to knock out terrorist threats to an army base in the east of the country.

This fighting left a death toll of 12 on the side of AQIM and six on the side of the Mauritanian military.

Yahya Abou Elhoumama, head of the Alvourghan Katiba (terrorist unit), was reportedly killed in the fighting. He had been previously targeted by the Mauritanian army.

The army also admitted two junior military officers died in the battle.

Mauritanian troops launched their second across-border attack on AQIM since July, when they killed seven members of the terrorist group. Both Mauritania and Mali are members of an anti- terror joint command, which also includes Algeria and Niger.

AQIM has been active in the desert in northern Mali and other Sahel-Sahara countries since 2006, engaged in kidnapping and drug trafficking. Out of the European hostages taken by AQIM, a British and a French have been killed since last year. Enditem

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