Mauritania officials visit Mali after raid on Qaeda base

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Senior Mauritanian security officials visited Mali Friday, a day after a raid by French-backed Mauritanian forces against a suspected Al-Qaeda base, according to a Malian defence ministry source.

Mauritania's Defence Minister Hamadi Ould Hamady, head of state security and military chief of staff met with Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure, according to the source.

Six members of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) were killed in the raid Thursday in the Sahara desert, Mauritanian Interior Minister Mohamed Ould Boilil said earlier.

He said the operation did not take place on Mauritanian territory but was "not far from our border" -- implicitly confirming reports that it was in a remote area of neighbouring Mali.

Boilil Friday denied that the raid was aimed at freeing 78-year-old French hostage Michel Germaneau.

The French defence ministry said AQIM was refusing to negotiate the release of the aid worker, who was kidnapped four months ago and is threatened with execution.

© 2010 AFP

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