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Many dead, some freed as chaos reigns in Algerian hostage crisis


Algeria

Many dead, some freed as chaos reigns in Algerian hostage crisis

  • Algerian army says it has freed four foreign hostages.
  • Three Belgians, two Americans, a Japanese and a Briton reportedly still being held hostage.
  • Thirty-four hostages and 15 of their al Qaeda-linked kidnappers reported to have been killed.

Thirty-four hostages and 15 of their al Qaeda-linked kidnappers have been killed in an air strike by the Algerian military on a besieged gas plant, Mauritania’s ANI news agency reported.

It was also claimed by official Algerian APS news agency that four foreign hostages were freed while seven are still being held. Around 180 Algerian nationals who had been kidnapped also managed to escape, say the same sources.

The hostages were being held by the kidnappers at a desert gas field. The ANI news agency has close contact with the group which has claimed responsibility for the mass kidnapping.

The Algerian armed forces had opened fire on vehicles of hostage-takers at the site of the siege and many people were killed there, a resident of the locality where the incident took place told Reuters.

Algeria’s official APS news agency said that it had been told by the Algerian army that their troops had released four foreign hostages.

According to ANI, the spokesman for the kidnappers said they would kill the rest of their captives if the army approached and they are still holding seven people – two Americans, three Belgians, a Japanese and a Briton.

Earlier today, Algeria’s APS claimed that 30 Algerian workers had managed to escape from the desert gas facility. Reuters later reported that 180 Algerians had escaped.

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