8 Suspects Arrested in Israeli Embassy Attack in Mauritania

Attack on embassy by al-Qaida linked men damaged nearby VIP restaurant, injured three people.

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Eight people have been arrested in connection with last week's attack on the Israeli Embassy in Mauritania, a police official said.

The eight, including one Algerian national, were arrested individually over the past few days, said the police official, who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

He said all of the suspects are salafists, who follow an extreme form of Islam. The attack on the embassy, which also damaged the nearby VIP restaurant and injured at least three people, was claimed by a group that until recently called itself the Salafist Group for Call and Combat.

The Algerian-based terror network recently changed its name to Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa after announcing an alliance with al-Qaida.

The police official said the eight had weapons in their possession as well as stolen cars. They were identified with the help of witnesses who were dining at the VIP and security guards present at the embassy during the attack.

Authorities said at least one gunman opened fire on the embassy on Feb. 1. Several witnesses said they saw a group of men gather near the VIP before pulling weapons out of their clothes and attacking the embassy, screaming Allahu akbar.

Mauritania is a relatively stable Islamic republic that won international praise for holding elections deemed free and fair last year. But the country has faced a setback following back-to-back attacks blamed on Islamic terrorists, including the Christmas Eve slaying of four French tourists picnicking on the side of a road.

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