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:

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:

Al-Qaeda Terrorists Attack BP Facility in Algeria; Taken Dozens of Hostages, Including Some Americans – Video Report 1/16/13 UPDATED: Report Breaking that 20 Hostages have Escaped; UPDATED: Reuters Reporting 34 Hostages Killed in Algerian Military Airstrike

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