ALGIERS, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Some 650 hostages detained by an armed group at a gas field in Illizi province in southern Algeria have been freed, the official APS news agency reported Friday, citing figures provided by a security source.
The freed include 570 Algerians and more than half of the 132 detained foreigners, the report said.
The source said that the army's special forces are still looking for a peaceful solution to free the rest hostages, before having to eradicate the militants who take refuge in a refinery of the gas field facility.
According to the source, the gas facility has been shut down in view of any explosion risk.
The Algerian special forces launched on Thursday a raid on the gas field compound to rescue the domestic and foreign workers being detained by the armed group a day ago.