Al-Qaeda Terrorists have attacked a British Petroleum Natural Gas facility in Algeria and taken dozens of foreigners hostage – including some Americans. Some reports indicate 7 Americans were captured, but other reports put the confirmed number at three:
CBS NEWS: Algeria’s government searched desperately Thursday for a way to end the desert standoff with Islamic militants who have taken dozens of foreigners hostage at a natural gas complex, as the purported militants behind the attack accused Alergian forces of wounding some of the captives.
One Algerian security official told the Associated Press on Thursday that 20 foreigners had managed to escape, including some Americans and Europeans, but the report could not be immediately confirmed.
CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan reports the State Department has only confirmed that three Americans are among those taken hostage, and that 10 in total worked at the facility.
The government was in talks throughout the night with the U.S. and France over whether international forces could help against the militants, who have said 41 foreigners, including seven Americans, were being held after the assault on one of oil-rich Algeria’s energy facilities, 800 miles from the capital of Algiers. Two foreigners, one of them a Briton, were killed. . . .
The group claiming responsibility — called Katibat Moulathamine or the Masked Brigade — said the attack Wednesday was in revenge for Algeria’s support of France’s military operation against al Qaeda-linked rebels in neighboring Mali. Militants phoned a Mauritanian news outlet to say one of its affiliates had carried out the operation at the Ain Amenas gas field, and that France should end its intervention in Mali to ensure the safety of the hostages. . . . Read More
UPDATED 1/17/13, 8:32 AM ET: Reuters is now reporting that 34 of the hostages have been killed in an airstrike by the Algerian military:
BREAKING: 34 hostages and 15 kidnappers killed by air strikes by Algerian army – ANI news agency live.reuters.com/Event/Mali_Con…— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 17, 2013
UPDATED 1/17/13, 7:58 AM ET: Reports are breaking that some of the hostages, perhaps 20 of them, including Americans, have managed to escape from their terrorist captors:
BREAKING Americans among 20 hostages to escape from terrorist captors at Algeria gas facilitynyp.st/U3sXZJ— New York Post (@nypost) January 17, 2013