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Africa North
Hostage operation over with high casualties
[VOA News] Algeria's state-run news agency says the military operation at the natural gas complex where Islamic militants seized 41 foreign hostages has ended.

But firm information on the fate of the captives is hard to confirm.

The country's communications minister, Mohamed Said, said a "large number of terrorists were neutralized" during the raid. But he also said that several hostages were killed.

A news agency in Mauritania quoted a militant spokesman as saying 34 hostages and 15 kidnappers were killed when Algerian helicopters attacked as the militants tried to move the hostages. That report has not been independently confirmed.

Algeria's news agency reports four hostages - one from Kenya, one from France, and two from Britain - were freed. Other hostages are believed to include Norwegians, Japanese and Americans.

Al-Qaida-linked militants stormed the Amenas gas complex in eastern Algeria Wednesday for what they say is retaliation for French military operations in Mali. Islamic militants also with ties to al-Qaida are in control of northern Mali and have threatened to move towards the capital.

The gas complex is jointly run by Algerian, British and Norwegian firms. The Pentagon says it is ready to intervene if Algeria asks for help, and a Defense Department official would not deny reports that the U.S. sent a drone over Algeria.
Posted by:Fred

#16  Reuters: A local man who had escaped from the facility told Reuters the militants appeared to have inside knowledge of the layout of the complex, supporting the view of security experts that their raid was long-planned, even if the Mali war provided a motive.

"The terrorists told us at the very start that they would not hurt Muslims but were only interested in the Christians and infidels," Abdelkader, 53, said by telephone from his home in the nearby town of In Amenas. "'We will kill them,' they said."

Algiers, whose leaders have long had frosty relations with the former colonial power France and other Western countries, may have some explaining to do over its tactics in putting an end to a hostage crisis whose scale was comparable to few in recent decades bar those involving Chechen militants in Russia.

Government spokesman Said sounded unapologetic, however: "When the terrorist group insisted on leaving the facility, taking the foreign hostages with them to neighboring states, the order was issued to special units to attack the position where the terrorists were entrenched," he told state news agency APS, which said some 600 local workers were freed.

The militants said earlier they had 41 foreign hostages.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418   2013-01-17 23:37  

#15  Zero's not as happy this time: There's no fund raiser in Vegas.
Posted by: Frozen Al   2013-01-17 21:24  

#14  O got a great night's sleep, so, not a problem
Posted by: Frank G   2013-01-17 20:50  

#13  Sooo...
Less than optimal, or not ideal?
Posted by: swksvolFF   2013-01-17 20:34  

#12   I wonder who is funding/supporting these AQ-linked militants?
Mokhtar Belmokhtar the bandit behind the attack, looks like he is mainly self funded. However his gang was hired by Daffy as mercenaries before his premature demise. His gang (plus other) proceeded to empty Daffys arms depots. North Africa is now awash with the latest arms thanks to French, British and US air bombing.
Posted by: tipper   2013-01-17 19:49  

#11  Interestingly we learn that a US Army Mobile Training Team (MTT) had recently departed Mali and that a Mali Captain had decided to go the AQ route. Shades of former US MTT's and the late MSG Sammy Doe in Monrovia.
Posted by: Besoeker   2013-01-17 19:10  

#10  These gas and oil sites are critical to our national interest, and the national interest of many in Europe. Perhaps a re-examination of organizations and missions of firms such as the former Executive Outcomes should be undertaken.
Posted by: Besoeker   2013-01-17 19:05  

#9  I wonder who is funding/supporting these AQ-linked militants?

I would say Qatar, which was tut-tutting about the Frenchies "hasty" military actions. Qaradawi, who's based in Qatar, is also bitching and moaning about it.
Posted by: Fred   2013-01-17 19:05  

#8  media now reporting 30 hostages dead ... but seems like a round figure. it always takes a long time to get accurate info from Africa (and sometimes you never get it).

keep in mind that these various Islamist groups across N. Africa are united in a hidden goal to establish a Grand Caliphate stretching across the continent. Th people funding these groups certainly have that goal. It's reasonable to suspect prominent families from the Saudi's, Qatar and elsewhere.
Posted by: Raider   2013-01-17 18:50  

#7  I wonder who is funding/supporting these AQ-linked militants?

Could the millions of USD sent to Pakistan, Egypt, and the Paleo's have played a role ?
Posted by: Besoeker   2013-01-17 18:23  

#6  I wonder who is funding/supporting these AQ-linked militants?

Much of the funds are likely from the same funding mechanisms used by the 'original' Al Qaeda. Those, unlike bin Ladin, haven't been killed off. Additional sources are piracy, smuggling (human and contraband), the blackmarket, taxes extortion within the areas that they and affiliated groups control, and so forth.

No doubt there are state actors involved as well. For hints, see previous comments made by 'Paul', one of our British commenters.
Posted by: Pappy   2013-01-17 18:03  

#5  I wonder who is funding/supporting these AQ-linked militants?
Posted by: JohnQC   2013-01-17 16:54  

#4  Not feeling all that love and respect that was promised from abroad?
Posted by: JohnQC   2013-01-17 16:52  

#3  Al Qaeda is CLEARLY attacking installations around the world where there are American citizens. Armed by the Obama/Hilebeast supported rebel campaigns in Egypt, Lybia, aA.K.A. North Africa.
Posted by: Dino Shomomp7692   2013-01-17 16:39  

#2  you'd expect major casualties if helicopters gun down vehicles carrying mujahideen and captives. The enws says 2 Americans have survived. The fate of 5 other Americans is unclear.

The Algerians will take some fierce criticism about the heavy firepower directed towards hostages in this recue.
Posted by: Raider   2013-01-17 16:15  

#1  ... and what were the communications between Hildebeast and Algeria on this one? Was Al Qaeda active in the area? Did the State Departement ask that precautions be taken regarding the lives of American hostages even though a long term hostage situation would be damaging to Hussein and Hildebeast?

Will answers NOT be forthcoming such as Al Qaeda's attack on American citizens in Lybia?
Posted by: Dino Shomomp7692   2013-01-17 16:15