A checkpoint of the Algerian police is seen 10 km from the gas production plant of Tiguentourine in In Amenas, Algeria, on Jan. 19, 2013. At least 12 hostages were killed during Algerian forces' rescue operation at In Amenas gas complex while 30 others were still held by militants in a world-rattling incident. In the raid on the gas field, Algerian forces freed some 650 hostages, including 570 Algerians and more than half of the 132 detained foreigners, the official APS news agency said Friday, citing a security source. (Xinhua/Mohamed Kadri)
IN AMENAS, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 hostages were killed during Algerian forces' rescue operation at In Amenas gas complex while 30 others were still held by militants in a world-rattling incident.
Four foreign hostages, including a U.S. national, were killed on Friday, the second day of the rescue operation, a local security source told Xinhua.
A witness located about 5 km from the facility told Xinhua that smoke from an explosion was seen rising from the compound, but he could not tell the cause of the explosion.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said a French citizen was killed in the operation while three other French nationals were saved.
Earlier, the official APS news agency said that 12 hostages, including Algerians and foreigners, as well as 18 militants were killed in the raid.
Local television Ennahar said that the killed militants included a French, a Malian, a Tunisian, two Egyptians, two Libyans and several Algerians.
On Thursday, Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia indicated that about 20 militants attacked the gas field and kidnapped its workers. "The militants came on three 4x4 vehicles, which can carry some 20 people," he said.
In the raid on the gas field, Algerian forces freed some 650 hostages, including 570 Algerians and more than half of the 132 detained foreigners, APS said Friday, citing a security source.
The source said that the army was still looking for a peaceful solution to free the remaining hostages before having to eradicate the militants taking refuge in a refinery in the gas field.
According to the source, the gas facility has been shut down to avoid any explosion risk.
Local media reported Friday that U.S. and British planes had arrived in Algeria to take their nationals home.
Meanwhile, a number of injured workers have been evacuated to Azhar clinic in Algiers' southwestern Dely Brahim suburb.
The international community is also making efforts to solve the crisis.
The UN Security Council on Friday condemned "in the strongest terms" the heinous acts by the kidnappers, and "underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended a government task force meeting Saturday on the ongoing hostage crisis in Algeria, demanding continued efforts to collect related information through various channels and rescue Japanese hostages.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that some hostages being held in Algeria remained in danger, calling for the "utmost care" to protect their security.
The United States also said it will not negotiate with the terrorists in response to the militants' demand for the release of Pakistani doctor Aafia Siddiqui and Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric known as "the blind sheikh."
The two were convicted in the United States on terrorism charges.
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) --The UN Security Council on Friday condemned "in the strongest terms" Wednesday's terrorist attack at a natural gas complex in In Amenas, Algeria.
In the attack, allegedly aimed at avenging Algeria's support for French involvement in conflict in neighboring Mali, al-Qaida-linked militants took hundreds of Algerian and foreign workers hostage. Full story
WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The United States said on Friday that it will not negotiate with terrorists taking foreign hostages in an Algerian gas field.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland ruled out the possibility in response to the militants' demand for release of Pakistani doctor Aafia Siddiqui and Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric known as "the blind sheikh", who were convicted in the United States on terrorism charges. Full story