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Mauritanian who killed 4 Frenchmen dies in prison

CAIRO (AP) — A news agency in Mauritania says a local al-Qaida-linked militant who was sentenced to death for taking part in the killing of four French tourists in 2007 has died in a prison.

The Nouakchott Information Agency reported on Tuesday that Maarouf Ould Haiba died on Monday. It quoted an unnamed prison official as saying Ould Haiba had been on hunger strike for some time.

Militant websites also reported the death.

In May 2010, a Mauritanian court sentenced Ould Haiba and two other men, who all claimed to be members of an al-Qaida offshoot, to death for the 2007 murder of four French tourists who were picnicking on the side of a highway in eastern Mauritania on Christmas Eve.

Al-Qaida’s North Africa branch had claimed responsibility for kidnapping of several foreigners.

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