Details are again sketchy. The official U.S. media is avoiding this like the plague. Huffington post had an article with 6 victims. But, it appears the reality is far worse. Reuters reports 34 of the initial 41 hostages have been killed, and U.K. Daily Mail says up to 35 of the hostages killed.
Reports late last night from French Media were that the hostages had been outfitted with explosive, suicide type, bomb belts/vests. Prayers for all the families of the victims. Here are a couple of latest reports.
(Daily Mail)Two British workers were reported tonight to be among the dead following a botched Algerian military raid to free hostages at a desert gas plant.
Thirty hostages, including at least seven foreigners, were killed when Algerian forces stormed a BP desert gas plant seized by Islamist militants, an Algerian security source said.
He told Reuters that among the dead hostages were eight Algerians, two Japanese, two Britons and one French national. The nationalities of the other dead were not clear.
Algerian state television quoted a hospital as saying four foreigners had been killed and seven wounded amid a confused picture of the crisis.
The report came shortly after Prime Minister David Cameron said the country should be ‘prepared for the possibility of further bad news’ and multiple deaths after Algeria’s botched rescue of oil workers in the Sahara.
A backlash among Western governments was growing against Algeria after it took the extraordinary decision to act alone – and kept Britain in the dark about the dangerous rescue mission it was attempting.
The botched action took place as an unarmed American surveillance drone soared overhead – yet the Algerian government had refused offers of help from America and Britain’s crack special forces as they tried to overcome one of the biggest kidnappings ever seen in Africa.
Algerian forces strafed the Saharan gas plant with helicopter fire today hours after rebels threatened to detonate explosives attached to the hostages if they were attacked.
The Algerian government says the army was forced to intervene due to the militants’ stubbornness and their desire to escape with the hostages.
Islamic extremists launched the attack in revenge for France’s crackdown on rebels in neighbouring Mali. Britain is providing non-combat role support and so became a target.
President Hollande has defended the action, stating: ‘What’s happening in Algeria provides further evidence that my decision to intervene in Mali was justified.’ [...]
According to Mauritania’s ANI news agency, seven western hostages were still alive – three Belgians, two Americans, one Japanese and one Briton.
A spokesman for the Masked Brigade, which had earlier claimed responsibility for the assault said Abou El Baraa, the leader of the kidnappers, was also killed.
The information came from the Nouakchott Information Agency, which has often carried reports from al-Qaeda-linked extremist groups.
The militant spokesman said the kidnappers were attacked by Algerian helicopters when they attempted to leave the complex. (read more)