The bizarre Algerian Hostage Crisis may be over, but it is still unclear what actually happened. Reports today indicate the Algerian military launched a “final assault” on a Natural Gas Facility in Algeria where Al-Qaeda terrorists had taken captive an unknown number of hostages. The Algerians say the “final assault” killed the terrorists and seven more hostages – to be added to the unknown number killed in an earlier assault by the Algerian Military:
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Algerian troops raided a remote natural gas refinery Saturday, killing 11 Islamic militants but not before extremists executed seven hostages who for days had been trapped in a deepening international crisis, according to media reports.
Algerian state media described the army mission as the “final assault” to end a hostage ordeal that began in the predawn Wednesday at a gas compound on the Algerian-Libyan border. It was not clear if the hostages killed were Algerians or foreigners.
“It is over now, the assault is over, and the military are inside the plant clearing it of mines,” a local source familiar with the operation told Reuters.
The fate of as many as 30 foreign hostages, including an estimated seven Americans, remained unknown. Algerian forces discovered 15 burned bodies as they swept through the compound Saturday to rout heavily armed militants. The militants threatened to blow up the facility and a number of hostages were reported earlier to have been forced to wear explosive belts.
The Algerian government had refused to negotiate with the extremists, who were linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and appear to include Algerians, Libyans, Egyptians and at least one commander from Niger.
Algeria’s state-run media earlier reported that 12 refinery workers, including Algerians and foreigners, had been killed since a government operation to retake the plant began Thursday. Unconfirmed media reports suggested that as many as 35 foreign captives may have been killed, including some struck by gunfire from the Algerian military. . . .Read More
A few days ago, Stratfor explained that for the Algerians, getting the hostages out safely was not their first concern. Demonstrating strength against the terrorists was their primary objective in this whole situation – hence their decision to assault the terrorists quickly and decisively despite the risk to the hostages. It is not known yet how many Americans may be among the dead.