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Algeria and Mali

  • Americans believed among hostages at Algeria plant - W.House

    WASHINGTON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The White House said on Thursday it believed Americans were among the hostages held by militants at an Algerian gas plant, was concerned about reports of loss of life in an operation by Algerian forces and was seeking clarification from the Algerian government.

    "This is an ongoing situation and we are seeking clarity," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters when asked about the Algerian military operation to break the desert siege. President Barack Obama was being briefed regularly by his national security team, he said.

    Carney said the U.S. government was still trying to determine the number of casualties and who they were, and was also in touch with BP officials in London. He said there was no immediate confirmation of al Qaeda links to the hostage situation and Washington was trying to find out what group was behind it.
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Iraqi security forces and Kurds gain ground against Islamic State

BAGHDAD/ARBIL Iraq - Iraqi government forces and Shi'ite militias seized control of the strategic town of Jurf al-Sakhar near Baghdad from Islamic State on Saturday and Kurdish fighters made gains in the north after heavy coalition air strikes against the Sunni militants.