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Al Qaida affiliate claims responsibility for Israeli Embassy attack in Mauritania
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An al Qaida affiliate claimed responsibility for a shooting attack on the Israeli Embassy in Mauritania's capital, saying the attack aimed to retaliate Israeli policies in the Gaza Strip, an Arab television station reported Saturday.

The Arab satellite TV station Al-Jazeera said that Al Qaida in Islamic North Africa, an affiliate of Osama bin Laden's global terror network, issued a statement saying it had carried out the attack as a reprisal against Israel.

According to news reaching Dakar, the attack occurred before dawn Friday, and five local residents were injured in the exchange of fire between the gunmen and the embassy guards.

The injured include Samba Sagho, 61, owner of a restaurant adjacent to the Israeli Embassy and his 42-year old son Sagho Ilyah Almamy. The third injured, a woman of French nationality, who was a client at the restaurant at the time of the attack, was evacuated to Paris.

Mauritania established diplomatic relations with Israel on October 28, 1999, becoming one of the only three member nations of the Arab League to maintain diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip since mid-January has led to growing demand among Mauritanians to sever the country's diplomatic ties with Israel.

(Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2008)

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