It is a desert storm that has killed and sparked diplomatic fury. Families are mourning others remain in the dark as to the fate of their loved ones caught in the siege.
The number of dead, and those released remains unconfirmed. Algerian state media reports 60 foreign workers are still being held and around 650 have been released to date. Algeria’s tone is uncompromising.
“The operation has enabled us to neutralise an important number of terrorists and to free a significant number of hostages. But unfortunately some people have been killed and injured. For the moment, we do not have definitive figures. We will communicate the details as soon as we have them,” said Algerian Communications Minister Mohamed Said Belaid
Japan has weighed into the diplomatic row. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has cancelled a trip to South East Asia. He was not informed of the operation in advance. Yoshihide Suga Chief Cabinet Secretary said: “There is still much confusion in the information but we are receiving reports of casualties. We deeply regret the actions taken by the Algerian military.”
Rebels laid siege to the gas complex two days ago. Ten Britons remain unaccounted for and Prime Minister David Cameron has warned there could be more “bad news” ahead.