Hostages, Militants Reported Dead In Algerian Assault
Algerian special forces stormed a gas installation where militants were holding several hostages on Saturday, according to Algeria's state media. The reports claim 11 militants and seven hostages were killed during what is being described as a final assault to end the four-day standoff.
The Algerian Press Service quotes a "security source" saying the hostages were killed by the militants, but did not give the nationalities of the dead. As throughout this crisis, there is still much unknown about what's been happening on the ground there. The AP is reporting:
"There was no official count of how many hostages were still being held by the final group of militants holed up in the gas refinery on Saturday, but the militants themselves had reported they were still holding three Belgian, two Americans, a Japanese and a Briton."
There are reports of hostages freed, too. Al Jazeera says a "source close to the crisis" said 16 foreign hostages, including two Americans, two Germans and one Portuguese were freed.
One American worker has been confirmed dead, as we reported on Friday; the State Department identified the man as Frederick Buttaccio from Texas.
This crisis began on Wednesday, when Islamist militants seized dozens of hostages, including foreigners, at the In Amenas gas field near the country's border with Libya. Algeria has handled the attack as an internal affair, turning down advice and offers of support from other countries, including the U.S. The Algerian government continues to keep tight control over the information being released, making details of the story difficult to verify.