Desert kidnappers offer to swap U.S. hostages for jailed militants

NOUAKCHOTT Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:23am EST

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NOUAKCHOTT (Reuters) - Al Qaeda-linked kidnappers who took hundreds of people hostage at a gas plant in Algeria have offered to swap U.S. captives for two militants jailed in the United States, Mauritanian news agency ANI reported.

They named the militants they want freed as Pakistani Aafia Siddiqui and Egyptian Omar Abdel-Rahman, known as "The Blind Sheikh", ANI reported, citing the group's spokesman. The report did not say how many U.S. hostages were being held. (Reporting by Laurent Prier in Nouakchott and Sami Aboudi in Dubai; Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Robin Pomeroy)

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