Wednesday, January 16, 2013

US citizens among hostages seized by Muslim terrorists in Algeria

Waiting for the press conference to explain that this was due to a movie called Zero Dark Thirty which the Obama Administration "has nothing to do with".
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — In what could be the first spillover from France’s intervention in Mali, Islamist militants attacked and occupied a natural gas complex partly operated by energy company BP in southern Algeria on Wednesday. Two foreigners were killed and possibly dozens of others, including Americans, were taken hostage.

A militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in revenge for Algeria’s support of France’s operation against al-Qaida-linked Malian rebels groups far to the southeast. It said it was holding 41 foreigners, including seven Americans.

Algerian forces have surrounded the complex and the state news agency reported a bit more than 20 people we’re being held, including Americans, Britons, Norwegians, French and Japanese, citing the local authorities.

“Algeria will not respond to terrorist demands and rejects all negotiations,” announced Algeria’s top security official, Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia on television.

In a statement, BP said the site was “attacked and occupied by a group of unidentified armed people,” and some of its personnel are believed to be “held by the occupiers.”

The number and identities of the hostages were still unclear, but Ireland announced that a 36-year-old married Irish man was among them, while Japan and Britain said their citizens were involved as well. A Norwegian woman said her husband called her saying he had been taken hostage.

In addition to those killed — one of them a Briton — six were wounded in the attack, including two foreigners, two police officers and two security agents, the state news agency reported.

Hundreds of Algerians work at the plant and were taken in the attack, but the state news agency reported that they have gradually been released in small groups, unharmed by the late afternoon.

A group called the Katibat Moulathamine, or the Masked Brigade, called a Mauritanian news outlet to say one of its affiliates had carried out the operation on the Ain Amenas gas field, taking 41 hostages from nine or 10 different nationalities, including the seven Americans.

The group’s claim could not be independently substantiated and the U.S. embassy said it wasn’t “aware of any U.S. citizen casualties.”