Al-Qaeda frees Spanish aid staff

Two Spanish aid workers held by al-Qaeda's North African wing have been freed, the Spanish government said, ending a kidnapping in the Sahara Desert that lasted nearly nine months.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said it seized Albert Vilalta and Roque Pascual while they were travelling through Mauritania with a relief aid convoy last November, the latest in a string of abductions claimed by the group.

The group said that Spain is one of its targets because it is an ally of the United States and part of Nato.

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