ALGIERS, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- A total of 23 hostages and 32 militants were killed in an appalling hostage crisis at a gas field facility of Tiguentourine in In Amenas in Algeria's southern province of Illizi, the official APS news agency reported, citing a statement of the Interior Ministry released on Saturday.
A number of 685 Algerian workers and 107 foreign nationals have been freed, according to the ministry.
The Algerian army's Special Forces recouped a load of foreign military uniforms, ammunition, explosives and some arms, including six FMPK machine guns, 21 PMAK rifles, two shotgun glaces, two 60 mm mortars, six C5 60 mm missiles with launchers, two RPGs and ten grenades set in the explosive belts, according to the report.
On Wednesday, an armed group assaulted an escorted bus carrying 19 foreign nationals working in the In Amenas gas field facility on their way to the airport.
The attack was pushed back by the escort security unit, but it left an Algerian and a British killed, while six were injured, including four Algerians, a Briton and a Norwegian. The armed group then seized a group of workers and took refuge in the remote compound three km away from the gas plant.
The Algeria's Special Forces launched successive raids on the gas field compound on Thursday to rescue the detained workers.
It is the first terror attack targeting a hydrocarbon site in the North African nation.
Algerian troops have been conducting a mine clearing operation after the army's final raid at the gas field facility, as militants had reportedly put mines at the facility attempting to blow it up.
The facility has been shut down. Energy Minister Youcef Yousefi, who has visited the area, told the national television (ENTV) that the gas production of Tiguentourine facility would be resumed as soon as the mine clearing operation ends.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday condemned the terrorist attack in Algeria leading to the deaths of 23 hostages, calling it another reminder of the threat posed by al-Qaeda and other violent extremist groups in North Africa.
"The blame for this tragedy rests with the terrorists who carried it out, and the United States condemns their actions in the strongest possible terms," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House. Full story
IN AMENAS, Algeria, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Ambassadors of Britain Martyn Roper and Norway Arild Retvedt Oyen arrived Saturday evening in In Amenas of southern Algeria to inquire about their freed compatriots who had been abducted at a local gas facility.
"I'm here to inquire about the situation of our nationals," the British diplomat told reporters, adding that he strongly condemns the terror attack by militants on the gas compound of Tiguentourine. Full story