Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mauritanian military attacks al Qaeda group, "kills 20"

The Mauritanian army responded to an attack Tuesday by a terrorist group aligned with al Qaeda by mounting a counterattack in northeastern Mauritania that killed about 20 members of the group and captured nine others, military sources told CNN.

The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon, when 25 vehicles carrying fighters belonging to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb attacked the Mauritanian military base in the city of Bassiknou along the border with Mali, the sources said.

The clash lasted 45 minutes, area residents said.

Afterward, the Mauritanian army pursued AQIM fighters into Mali, the sources said.

"We heard violent explosions and gunfire near the military base here in Bassiknou; a state of panic was prevailing," a witness told CNN. "It seems that al Qaeda decided to retaliate after losing many of its fighters in the clashes of Wagadou forest ... when Mauritanian troops destroyed their camps."

He was apparently referring to an incident that occurred last month, when Mauritanian special forces joined troops from Mali in launching an offensive targeting what they called an al Qaeda base camp.

According to Mauritanian army officials, 15 al Qaeda militants were killed in the offensive. Two Mauritanian soldiers were killed and another five were wounded. (read more)