Algerian PM: 37 Foreigners Killed In Hostage Crisis
January 21, 2013
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalik Sellal says 37 foreigners from eight different countries were killed during a four-day standoff after militants attacked a gas facility in the east of the country, seizing dozens of hostages including foreigners.
At a press conference on January 21, Sellal also said seven foreigners were still missing.
Sellal said the 32 militants who attacked the In Amenas gas plant all came from neighboring Mali, where French and Malian troops are battling Islamic groups.
But Sellal said the militants included citizens of Egypt, Niger, Mauritania, Tunisia, Mali, and at least one was from Canada.
He said 29 of the militants were killed and three were captured.
Algeria's military brought an end to the crisis after four days, when troops staged an assault on January 19.
French, Malian Troops Free Town
Meanwhile in Mali, French and Malian troops supported by helicopters and reconnaissance planes have entered the town of Diabaly, one week after it was seized by Islamic rebels.
Security sources said on January 21 that militants fled the town and headed north, though reports quoted Diabaly residents as saying some of the rebels simply abandoned their Islamic robes and attempted to blend in with the local population.
French warplanes and attack helicopters targeted rebel vehicles over the weekend ahead of the advance.
A commander with France's 21st Marine Infantry regiment said the operation in Diabaly was "ongoing" without elaborating.
The French military began its offensive on January 11 as rebel forces moved toward the capital, Bamako.
The militants seized control across northern Mali and imposed Shari'a law following a coup by soldiers in March 2012 in Bamako.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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