Algeria kidnappers demand end to French attacks in Mali- ANI

NOUAKCHOTT Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:37pm GMT

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NOUAKCHOTT Jan 16 (Reuters) - Al Qaeda-linked militants who attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday have demanded an end to French military operations against Islamists in northern Mali in return for the safety of dozens of hostages, Mauritania's ANI news agency reported.

The statement sent to ANI by the group also said it was holding some 40 hostages. A spokesman for a group under the command of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a veteran Saharan jihadist and smuggling kingping, had earlier said it was behind the hostage-taking.