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Al-Qaida seeks to target Westerners

Jan. 31, 2013 at 7:11 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida's North African branch seeks to build on its assault on a gas complex in Algeria by attacking more Western targets in the area, U.S. officials said.

New intelligence indicates al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb feels emboldened by the Jan. 16 raid on an Algerian natural gas complex in which dozens of hostages and militants were killed, U.S. intelligence officials told The Washington Post Thursday.

"What we have seen is intelligence suggesting a desire to carry out more attacks," one official speaking on condition of anonymity told the newspaper.

The "desire" was characterized more as "aspirational," and there is no evidence concrete actions have been set in motion, the official said.

Western targets in North Africa are of particular interest to al-Qaida and its affiliates, as "most of these groups have no capacity" to carry out attacks in the United States, the official added.

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