Qaeda warns against hostage rescue bid
Rabat - Al-Qaeda's north African branch warned Western states including France on Thursday against a military bid to rescue hostages kidnapped in Mali, citing "information" of plans for such an operation.
"We send a warning to France, Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden: if they authorise this operation it will mean the death of their nationals and amount to an attempt on their lives," it said in a statement in Arabic.
"According to information we have received, the alliance of crusaders led by France which supports certain regimes like those of Algeria and Mauritania, is preparing an imminent military operation to free their hostages."
The statement was emailed to AFP in Rabat and carried by the ANI news agency in Mauritania which has published several Aqim statements in the past. These have never been disclaimed.
"We would like to state that we are searching a peaceful solution to this issue of the hostages," it added.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim), has claimed the kidnapping last November of two Frenchmen in the northern Malian town of Hombori, and another three Westerners a day later in Timbuktu.