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Italian al-Qaida Captive Speaks on Audiotape

An Italian woman kidnapped in Algeria in early February has said in an audiotape that she is being held by the North African branch of al-Qaida.

Her message was aired by Dubai-based Al Arabiya television early Friday.

The woman, who identified herself as Maria Sandra Mariani, said in French that she was kidnapped February 2 and is being held by members of al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb. She said she wanted Al Arabiya to air her statement.

Reports say the woman was kidnapped near the town of Djanet in southeastern Algeria.