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AL QAEDA KIDNAPPED ITALIAN COUPLE

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Three weeks after MAGHREB al-Qaeda ( AQIM ) kidnapped 4 Westerners in Mauritania and Mali (see – MAQ 4 Prisoners) Yet another Italian couple was kidnapped in Mauritania the organization claimed on Monday 12/28/2009.

Salah Abu Mohamed, a spokesman for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, said in an audiotape recorded Sunday that the seizure of the Italians was connected to the “crimes of the Italian government in Afghanistan and Iraq,” the Arabic TV network Al-Arabiya said. The couple’s bullet-ridden car was discovered 12/19/2009 in eastern Mauritania, an area where armed groups with links to Al Qaeda are known to operate. The statement from the Islamist group was broadcast alongside a photograph showing the 65-year-old Sergio Cicala and his 39-year-old Burkina Faso-born wife, Philomene Kaboure – her faced blurred, apparently in accordance with the strict Islamic custom of not displaying a female’s face. 

 

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Monday he will travel to Mauritania and said that the Italian intelligence services were verifying what he described as ‘plausible’ claims by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb that it was holding the Italian couple, who were kidnapped Dec 18.
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