Mauritanian army arrests al-Qaida suspect

February 5, 2011 22:30

Mauritania — A Mauritanian army official said a suspected al-Qaida militant killed himself by detonating an explosive belt to avoid capture at the same time security forces grabbed his alleged accomplice.

The official who could not be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media said the army had cornered the two in Lexeiba, 150 miles (250 kilometers) south of Nouakchott, late on Saturday after a three-day search.

The two men were allegedly part of a convoy of cars loaded with explosives that had entered Mauritania last week. Security forces stopped Wednesday morning's attack, which may have been targeting the French Embassy, by firing on the first vehicle as it attempted to enter the capital. The assailants abandoned the second, and soldiers are still searching for a third.

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