MADRID, Oct. 27 (UPI) # Al-Qaida is building secret bases in the Sahara in north Africa with the help of Algerian extremists, Western and Arab intelligence sources said Monday.
The Spanish daily Periodico De Catalonia quoted the sources as saying the Sahara, stretching between Mauritania and southern Libya, has become a base for al-Qaida.
“The desert of Mali, especially in the north, and the area near the Algerian border has become a base and meeting point for al-Qaida members who have fled from the Middle East region,” an Algerian source said.
“We know that many things were taking place in the Sahara which is under the loose control of the Algerian and Libyan armies and the armed forces of weak countries like Niger, Mauritania and Mali,” a U.S. diplomat said.
Intelligence services of countries in the region have spotted an influx of Arab militants from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan and believe Algerian extremist groups were facilitating their relocation in the Sahara.