Algeria hostage crisis: Bloody climax to the battle for the desert gas plant
Islamist extremists "executed" seven hostages on Saturday before a final, bloody assault by the Algerian army ended a four-day siege in the desert.

Algeria's special forces stormed the gas complex, jointly run by BP and staffed by many British workers, after reports that the extremists had begun shooting foreigners they had kidnapped.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said five Britons and one UK resident, called Carlos Estrada, remained "unaccounted for" and the country had to "prepare for bad news". One Briton had already been confirmed dead on Wednesday.

In a series of further developments, it also emerged yesterday that:

  • a British worker was forced at gunpoint to persuade other Britons out from their hiding place, and was then executed himself;

    15 charred bodies were discovered by Algerian troops who stormed the complex;

  • terrorists tried to blow up the plant in a suicide attack before being killed by Algerian special forces;

  • booby trap mines were planted by the militants to try to prevent their capture;

  • American drones were drafted in as an international manhunt was stepped up for the fanatic behind the siege.

    The final assault on the gas processing complex began in the middle of yesterday morning, ending a hiatus of almost 48 hours after the first attempt by Algerian forces to overpower the terrorists.

    Security sources said the al-Qaeda militants' last stand had been in a factory or workshop area of the Tigantourine gas plant, which they had held since Wednesday.

    The group of about 40 men from the Masked Brigade, also known as Witnesses in Blood, had captured foreign workers in a residential area of the sprawling complex before being cornered in the main plant, about two miles away.
    I'm really starting to appreciate classical history, especially the way Rome dealt with this sort of crap.
    But even they had to teach the lesson again and again...

    Posted by: lotp 2013-01-20
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