Six gunmen armed with automatic weapons opened fire on the Israeli embassy in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott today, wounding five people. The attackers shouted "God is great" before the shooting, reports AFP. Although the gunmen fled and remain unidentified, an American terrorist monitor noted that an al-Qaeda leader exhorted Mauritanians to attack the embassy a year ago.
"This fits the pattern of al-Qaeda announcing targeting preferences in their public messaging up to a year or more before attacks occur," said a representative at the US-based IntelCenter. An Israeli spokesman condemned the "clear act of terrorism." Jerusalem has sent specially trained officers to Nouakchott to fortify security at the embassy. Mauritania is one of only three Arab countries—along with Egypt and Jordan—with which Israel has full diplomatic relations.