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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mauritania court charges 8 with ties to al Qaeda

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) -- A court in Mauritania charged eight men Tuesday with helping plot attacks last year and having links to an al Qaeda-linked Algerian militant group.

Dozens of people were arrested in early June for alleged ties to neighboring Algeria's Salafist Group for Call and Combat.

On Tuesday, three of them were charged with being "dangerous" members of the Algerian group and taking up arms against the state, judge Mohamed Ould Mah told The Associated Press.

The court charged four others with belonging to a clandestine Mauritanian terror group and one with falsifying documents.

Three more were released for lack of proof during the hearing in a Nouakchott court.

Algeria's Salafist Group for Call and Combat is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations and has vowed allegiance to al Qaeda.

Two of the alleged members of the Algerian group charged in court Tuesday were accused of participating in a June 2005 attack on a northern Mauritania army barracks that killed 17 people and wounded 37 others.

Authorities released six other alleged Islamists in June after the government said they repented of any involvement with the Salafist group and agreed to cut ties with all extremist organizations.
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