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Soldiers wounded in Mauritania blast

By Reuters

Several Mauritanian soldiers were wounded early on Wednesday after a vehicle they were pursuing exploded in the capital Nouakchott, according to a security source in the city.

The soldiers believed the vehicle, a pickup truck, contained members of Al Qaeda's north African wing and fired on it prior to the explosion, he said on condition of anonymity.

The blast at around 0200 GMT woke residents in the neighbourhood of Arafat, about 12km the city centre, and was heard by a Reuters witness.

At least two residents of the neighbourhood told Reuters by telephone after the explosion that they could hear sirens and could see ambulances moving through the street.

Mauritanian emergency officials were not immediately available to comment. Mauritanian authorities had hours earlier captured another vehicle carrying explosives and weapons and detained several suspected members of Al Qaeda's north African wing, a separate security source told Reuters on Tuesday.

The vehicles were believed to be among three that crossed into Mauritania illegally from Mali on the weekend. The third vehicle remained at large.