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Suicide bomber injures two at gates of French embassy

Article published on the 2009-08-09 Latest update 2009-08-09 10:38 TU

Explosive belts seized by Mauritanian police in June 2008.(Photo: M. Rivière/RFI)

Explosive belts seized by Mauritanian police in June 2008.
(Photo: M. Rivière/RFI)

A man detonated an explosive belt outside the French embassy in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott late Saturday, killing himself and injuring two embassy employees.

The two employees were jogging nearby when the suicide bombing occurred and spent the night in hospital with minor injuries.

It's the first suicide attack ever carried out in Mauritania and French authorities in Paris have opened an investigation.

According to eyewitnesses, the bomber was a young black man who was wearing a boubou, a traditional Muslim piece of clothing, and blew himself up on the sidewalk between the French and Libyan embassies. The bomber was clearly targeting the French embassy, witnesses told RFI, even though he did not succeed in damaging the building.

The attack comes three weeks after Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, who staged a widely condemned putsch a year ago, claimed victory in the former French colony’s presidential elections.

Previous attacks in the country, including the shooting of a US national in June and the kidnapping and murder of four French tourists in 2007 have been claimed by the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb terrorist organisation.

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