Algeria: Army rescues hostages, toll unclear

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Associated Press

Posted on January 17, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 17 at 7:36 PM

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Many hours after Algerian helicopters and special forces stormed a natural gas plant where Islamists were holding workers, the fate of all of the hostages and militants remains unclear.

At least six people, and perhaps many more, were killed. They include Britons, Filipinos and Algerians. Dozens more remained unaccounted for: Americans, Britons, French, Norwegians, Romanians, Malaysians, Japanese, Algerians and the fighters themselves. Militants claim that about three dozen workers were killed. They say they acted in support of Islamists fighting in neighboring Mali that are being battled with the support of France.

The plant, operated by BP, is in the Sahara desert near the border with Libya and 800 miles from the Algerian capital. An Algerian security official says the decision to send forces came because the militants were being stubborn and wanted to flee with the hostages.

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