WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that some hostages being held at a natural gas field in Algeria remained in danger.
After speaking with Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal earlier on the day, Clinton said the hostage situation is " extremely difficult and dangerous."
The Algerian prime minister "made clear that their operation was still ongoing, that the situation remained fluid, that the hostages remain in danger in a number of instances," she told reporters at a press conference held with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at the State Department.
"The United States extends our condolences to all the families who have lost loved ones in this brutal assault and we remain deeply concerned about those who remain in danger," she said.
Clinton also called for the "utmost care" to be taken in protecting the security of the hostages. But she refused to provide more details for the sake of their safety.
The Algerian military launched an air and ground assault on Thursday in an attempt to rescue hostages taken a day earlier at the oil facility near In Amenas by al-Qaida-affiliated militants to avenge Algeria's support for French involvement in conflict in neighboring Mali.
Some 650 hostages, including 570 Algerians and more than half of the 132 detained foreigners, were freed in the raid, but at least 12 hostages were killed so far, Algeria's official APS news agency reported on Friday.