ALGIERS, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Several hostages, mostly Algerians who were kidnapped Wednesday in an oil facility attack in Algeria' s southeast Illizi province have been released, the official APS news agency reported, citing a source from the Prefecture of Illizi.
Earlier in the day, Algerian Interior Ministry said that the attack targeting an oil facility in Illizi has left two foreign workers killed and six others injured, including two foreigners, and a number of other foreign workers were kidnapped in the meantime.
A British and a Norwegian were killed during the attack, said APS, adding that the number of the foreign hostages held by the armed group is still unknown, though a statement of an armed group related to al-Qaida network said that 41 foreign nationals were detained.
The report also said the armed group, named Al Mouwaqiin Bi Dam (the Signatories by Blood), claimed the detention of 41 foreign workers in the oil facility operated by the British Petroleum (BP) and Algerian Sonatrach, including American, French, British and Japanese nationals.
This operation is a response to Algeria's decision to open its airspace to French warplanes to fight the extremist groups in northern Mali, according to the report.
Meanwhile, local Ennahar TV channel quoted a security source as saying that the militants required the release of their mates detained in Algerian prisons to swap the hostages.