Al-Qaeda threatens France

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London, Jul 12: North African wing of Al-Qaeda threatened that if French government failed to meet its demands, it would kill a French hostage within 15 days.

Al-Qaeda said in May 2010, it was holding 78-year-old Michel Germaneau, who was seized in northern Niger in Apr, 2010.

Germaneau is a retired engineer who had worked in the Algerian oil sector.

According to the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, "the mujahideen decided to grant a final extension to France that will not be repeated and will not exceed 15 days, starting on Monday (Jul 12, 2010), 12072010."

It demanded a prisoner exchange and said French President Nicolas Sarkozy would be responsible for Germaneau's life.

Western countries said that if action is not taken, al-Qaeda militants could turn the Sahara into a safe haven along the lines of Somalia or Yemen, and use it to launch attacks.

AQIM released a picture and audio of Germaneau in May 2010, in which he said he had a serious medical condition, and urged Sarkozy to find a "good solution" for him.

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