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Extremist Group in Saharan Africa Pledges Allegiance to Islamic State

(AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

RABAT, Morocco (AP) -- An extremist group based in the Sahara desert known for carrying out terror attacks in Algeria, Mali and Niger has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group after years with the rival al-Qaida.

(AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

In an audio recording sent to a Mauritanian news agency late Wednesday that has received its statements in the past, the Mourabitoune group declared its allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose group rules over large sections of Syria and Iraq.

The statement was made by Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, rather than the group's founder Moktar Belmoktar who gained notoriety for the January 2013 assault on an Algerian gas complex.

The statement could indicate a change of leadership in the group.

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