World Bulletin/News Desk
Seven Algerian diplomats abducted by rebels in northern Mali in April have been freed, an Algerian security source and a Malian Islamist source said on Friday, a move that could ease tension along the volatile border.
"They are all safe and should be back home very soon," the security source said, adding that the seven consisted of a consul and six consular staff who were based in Mali.
Security officials in Algeria do not normally speak on the record and there was no confirmation from the government.
But, contacted by telephone, a source from the Ansar al-Dine group now controlling much of northern Mali said the diplomats were all "free and safe".
Algeria said in April that its diplomats were kidnapped from Gao, part of a swathe of territory in northern Mali then under the control of Tuareg-led separatists who had pushed out the military in a rebellion launched in January.
A Malian security source in Bamako and an Islamist fighter in the northern town of Gao, both of whom asked not to be named, confirmed earlier that at least three hostages had been freed but could not say whether the other four were also going home.
Western and African governments are struggling to muster a response to the crisis as politicians in the capital Bamako continue to squabble over how the country should be governed after a coup removed the president in March.
Algeria shares a border with Mali. Analysts and sources say Algeria is concerned about the turmoil in Mali but is reluctant to intervene lest it become embroiled in a lengthy and messy cross-border conflict.
Around 5,000 people demonstrated in Brussels to protest Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, which have killed over 1,000 Palestinians
Dozens of suspected communist guerillas attack military vehicle in Philippines south, injuring 4 of 5 troops onboard
Obama, speaking by phone on Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stressed the need for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza
The number of Iraqi families fleeing Mosul, Saladin, Diyala and Kirkuk amid ISIL-led insurgency exceeds 110,000, according to Iraqi Red Crescent
The army said in a statement it retook the field after a "precise operation in which dozens of terrorists were killed."
"It was an attempted hijack as the convoy was on its way to the Tunisian border," the official said. "No one was injured but vehicles were damaged."
Flights to and from Shanghai International Airport Co. Ltd. and 11 other airports in east China will face major delays until mid-August because of military drills
The Rafah border terminal represents the embattled coastal strip's only window to the outside world outside Israeli control
The Palestinian death toll from Israel's devastating military offensive in the blockaded Gaza Strip rose to 1053
Militants attacked Kolofata, a town in Cameroon's Far North Region near Nigeria, and seized several people including the wife of Cameroon's Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali
Malaysian experts have said they believe at least 30 investigators will be required to cover the full site of the crash, in addition to Dutch investigators and an expert from the United Nations' civil aviation body
Foreigners face abduction in north African state as security deteriorates, ministry warns
Tension continues to run high in the occupied West Bank amid Israel's devastating onslaught against the blockaded Gaza Strip
While he made no direct reference to the situation in the Gaza Strip, the comments came after a humanitarian truce broke down and more than 1,000 people, mostly civilians including dozens of children, have been killed.
Chechnya leader says puts travel, bank account ban on Obama, EU officials over Ukraine