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Mauritanian soldiers killed in ambush

A dozen Mauritanian soldiers were killed in the iron ore-rich region of Zouerate on Monday, ambushed while on patrol in an area where al Qaeda is active, according to a security official.

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NOUAKCHOTT - Gunmen attacked a Mauritanian army patrol in the north of the Saharan Islamic state early on Monday, a Mauritanian security source said.

The source, who asked not to be named, said the attack took place in the Tourin area near Zouerate, in Mauritania’s remote desert north where al Qaeda militants have claimed past attacks against military targets.

Casualties from the attack were taken to a local hospital, the source added, but could give no further details.

Mauritania’s main iron ore mining operations are located in the Zouerate region.

Following the Aug. 6 coup that toppled Mauritania’s elected president, al Qaeda’s North Africa wing, which had claimed a previous attack against the army in December, called for a holy war to establish Islamic rule in the West Saharan country.

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