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Friday, March 12, 2010
Al-Qaida: Freed Spanish hostage converted to Islam
CAIRO – Al-Qaida's offshoot in North Africa said Friday it released a Spanish woman it had held captive for 100 days in Mauritania because she voluntarily converted to Islam.
In a statement posted on militant Web sites, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb said it also took into account health reasons in choosing to free aid worker Alicia Gamez, although it did not elaborate.
"The Spanish woman converted to Islam voluntarily after the mujahidin (fighters) exposed her to Islam and its teachings. She took the name of Aicha," the brief message said.
News outlets have reported that the captors were demanding a ransom and the release of colleagues imprisoned in Mauritania. Spain's deputy prime minister, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, said Wednesday that no ransom had been paid.