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Sarkozy holds security meeting over al-Qaida claim

July 26, 2010

(KATAKAMI / CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.COM)  PARIS French President Nicolas Sarkozy has convened an emergency government meeting to discuss security after an al-Qaida offshoot claimed to have killed a French hostage in Africa.

The leader of al-Qaida’s North African branch said in a message broadcast Sunday that the 78-year-old French engineer was killed in retaliation for the killing of six al-Qaida members in a raid.

That raid last week was led by Mauritanian forces aided by the French military.

Humanitarian worker Michel Germaneau was abducted April 22 in Niger.

Sarkozy’s office and other French officials would not confirm or comment on the audio message.

But Sarkozy is meeting several of his Cabinet ministers Monday morning.

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