NOUAKCHOTT Jan 16 An al Qaeda-linked group
operating in the Sahara has claimed responsibility for the
kidnapping on Wednesday of five Japanese and a French citizen,
Mauritania's ANI news agency reported.
ANI, which has regular direct contact with Islamists, said
fighters under the command of Mokhtar Belmokhtar were holding
the foreigners seized from an Algerian gas field.
A local source said the French national was killed in an
attack on the facility.
Belmokhtar for years commanded al Qaeda fighters in the
Sahara before setting up his own armed Islamist group late last
year after an apparent fallout with other militant leaders.