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European Hostages Held in Algeria Reportedly Moved to Mali - 2003-07-29

Algerian newspapers report that 15 European hostages, who have been held in the Algerian desert for five months by suspected Islamists, have been moved to Mali and negotiations are underway to secure their freedom.

But Germany's ARD television reports the death of one of the hostages. It says the victim - a German mother of two - died of heatstroke and had most likely been buried by her captors in the desert. There is no official confirmation of the report.

Meanwhile, the Algerian press reports say the remaining hostages - nine Germans, four Swiss and one Dutch national - were taken 1,200 kilometers across the Algerian frontier into northern Mali. Quoting security sources, the reports say the group has been in Mali since last Thursday and that German envoys are involved in negotiating their release.

The tourists were captured in February. Another group of European tourists was also kidnapped and but was freed by an Algerian army military operation in mid-May.