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Al Qaeda calls for jihad in Mauritania after coup PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

DUBAI, Tue Aug 12,( - Al Qaeda's North Africa wing has called for a holy war in Mauritania to establish Islamic rule after a military junta toppled the country's elected president.

"Raise the banner of jihad and let us bleed and have our limbs severed until we bring back a caliphate styled along the lines of The Prophet's way," the leader of the al Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb, Abu Mus'ab Abd el-Wadoud, said in a statement posted on the Internet on Tuesday.

Abd el-Wadoud said the soldiers who toppled President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi in the northwest African state last week were probably acting upon a green light from "infidel states; America, France and Israel".

He urged supporters: "Wake up and prepare for the war; the cross is marching towards you."

Under the deposed president, Mauritania, which spans Arab and black Africa, has been an ally of the United States in its struggle against al Qaeda.

Militants killed four French tourists and several government soldiers in attacks in Mauritania last December, forcing the cancellation of the annual trans-Saharan Dakar rally.

An al Qaeda attack on the Israeli embassy in February highlighted Mauritania's status as one of the few Arab countries with diplomatic ties to the Jewish state.

The country's new military ruler, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, told Reuters in an interview on Sunday he would clamp down harder on militants, vowing: "Wherever we find them, we will arrest them and bring them to justice."

Washington has joined international condemnation of Abdallahi's overthrow, demanding the restoration of his government and announcing the suspension of non-humanitarian aid, worth more than $15 million in mostly military funding.

Tuesday's Web statement condemned what it called "apostate regimes ruling the Islamic Maghreb".

"Those regimes that enslave their people have always raised the banner of democracy in their fight against Islam, while people see that most of them assumed power through military coups," el-Wadoud said.

Abdallahi won elections last year after a 2005 coup, which ended years of dictatorship, but had faced growing opposition from deputies who complained he failed to consult them.

Al Qaeda has been waging a bloody campaign in north Africa to destabilize governments in the region and establish an Islamic state.

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