Spain fears that al-Qaeda's North African Wing is responsible for the kidnapping of three Spanish aid workers in Mauritania. The two men and a woman were snatched by armed men on a road linking the capital Nouakchott to the city of Nouadhibou in the north, despite being in convoy when they were attacked. There have been many such attacks. Early this year, the North African branch of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of two Canadian diplomats and four European tourists in Niger, while later claiming responsibility for the killing of a British hostage in Mali and an American aid worker in Mauritania. It also attacked a Malian army patrol, killing nearly a dozen soldiers, and ambushed a convoy of nearly two dozen Algerian paramilitary forces. The attacks reflect al-Qaeda’s growing presence in North Africa, away from its main sanctuary in Pakistan’s tribal areas, leading to fears in the West that the region may become a springboard for assaults on Europe.Read more: BBC, Ennahar Online, The New York Times
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