The Algerian government has announced that a four-day hostage crisis at the In Amenas gas plant is over.
Algiers has said that 23 hostages and 32 militants were killed during the siege.
Algerian media reports that the captors were part of a terrorist group known as “Those signed in blood”.
The In Amenas gas plant, located near the Libyan border, is operated by the state gas company together with British Petroleum and Norway’s Statoil.
Algerian forces, which stepped in on Thursday, gained full control of the site in a final push on Saturday.
Although several foreign governments have expressed frustration at not being informed of the plans in advance, the government has argued that it had to act quickly.
Regional expert Agnès Levallois says:
“It was absolutely necessary to end the crisis as soon as possible. This is because of the possible pressures on the countries with citizens on site; for economic reasons because supplies were threatened; and especially to show an example to deter any other terrorist groups from launching similar operations elsewhere in Algeria.
Algiers reports that 16 foreign hostages were freed in the final assault, but many workers are still unaccounted for.