MAGHREB al-Qaeda has claimed, on Thursday 06/25/2009, responsibility for the killing of an American aid worker, Christopher Leggett 39. He was shot dead in Mauritania, on Tuesday 06/23/2009.

The Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera said it had received an audio message in which the group said it had killed 39-year-old Christopher Leggett for allegedly spreading Christianity in the country.

“Two knights of the Islamic Maghreb succeeded Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. to kill the infidel American Christopher Leggett for his Christianizing activities,” the group was reported to have said.

Unidentified gunmen ran up to Christopher Leggett in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, on Tuesday and shot him several times, witnesses said.

Mr Leggett, who grew up in Cleveland, Tennessee, taught at a centre specializing in computer science and languages in a working-class neighborhood of the city, the Associated Press reported.

The group has also been blamed for attacks in neighboring countries such as Mali and Niger, including the killing of a British hostage, David Rohde, in northern Mali earlier this month.

In Mauritania, the former government said the group killed four French tourists in December 2007 – an attack that prompted the cancellation of the Paris-Dakar car rally (see – Aleg Attack). The authorities also blamed the group for attacking the Israeli embassy in the capital, Nouakchott, in 02/2008 (see – Nouakchott 02.01.08 ).

* The Mauritanian police said, on lat Friday 07/17/2009, they have arrested, following a shoot-out in Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital, two suspected Islamist militants, who are “very probably” the same men who murdered Christopher Leggett. A third gunman escaped the shootout.

One of the men, with the explosives belt, was being treated for injuries in a military hospital in Nouakchott, the police source said.

A Mauritanian court in Nouakchott, on 03/15/2011, convicted three militants with the murder of Christopher Leggett. The prime suspect Mohamed Ould Ahmednah was sentenced to death.  Didi Ould Bezeid was sentenced to 12 years in prison, and Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Khouna to three years for providing logistical support.

 “Two men had initially tried to kidnap Christopher Leggett. But he resisted and they shot him when they realized they could not overpower him.”  The court said.


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