Algeria and Mali
- Our latest wrap:
Some hostages reported to escape Sahara siege
ALGIERS/BAMAKO - Some hostages were reported to have escaped from a remote Algerian gas plant on Thursday, where dozens of foreigners and scores of Algerians were seized by Islamist gunmen demanding a halt to a French military campaign in neighboring Mali.
Governments around the world were holding emergency meetings to respond to one of the biggest international hostage crises in decades, which sharply raises the stakes over the week-old French campaign against al Qaeda-linked rebels in the Sahara.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an Algerian who fought against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980's, has claimed responsibility for the January 16 kidnapping of up to 41 foreigners at an Algerian gas field, according to media reports. REUTERS/Belmokhtar Brigade/Handout
- Algerian helicopters attack plant, two Japanese hostages hurt
NOUAKCHOTT - Two Algerian army helicopters attacked the gas complex where Islamists have seized dozens of foreigners and Algerians, injuring two of the Japanese hostages, Mauritania's ANI news agency reported, citing one of the kidnappers.
It was not possible to independently verify the report.
ANI has close contacts with the al Qaeda-linked group that has claimed responsibility for the mass kidnapping in retaliation for France's attack on Islamists in neighbouring Mali.
File photo of the gas field in Amenas, Algeria in this handout photo provided by Scanpix April 19, 2005. REUTERS/Kjetil Alsvik/Statoil via Scanpix
- Britain to work through Algerians to end hostage crisis
LONDON - Britain believes the best course of action in the Algeria hostage attack is to continue working through the Algerian government rather than acting unilaterally, Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said on Thursday.
The spokesman said Cameron had reached that decision after speaking with the prime ministers of Japan and Norway, whose nationals are believed to be among the hostages along with a number of Britons.
"They shared the information that they had and agreed the right approach was to continue working through the Algerian government," the spokesman said.
Mali's Foreign Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly (L) sits next to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton during an European Union emergency foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, to discuss the crisis in Mali January 17, 2013. European Union governments agreed on Thursday to go ahead with a plan to send hundreds of military personnel to train Malian government forces in fighting Islamist rebels, as a civil war Mali spilled across its borders, an EU diplomat said. REUTERS/Yves Herman
- French President Francois Hollande says there are French nationals on gas facility.
- Factbox: "Uncatchable" jihadist kingpin said to be behind Algeria raid
A Mauritanian news agency, ANI, says the raiders are commanded by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a veteran Saharan jihadist and smuggling kingpin.
Here are some facts about Belmokhtar: Factbox: Mokhtar Belmokhtar
- Desert site is home to kidnapped foreign gas workers
The gas installation where dozens of foreign gas industry workers were being held hostage is their home as well as their workplace. Full article
- Mali army reinforces town near capital after Islamist sighting
BAMAKO - The Malian army sped reinforcements on Thursday to a town close to the capital Bamako after Islamist fighters were spotted in the nearby border region with Mauritania, residents and a military source said.
"Banamba is in a state of alert. Reinforcements have been sent. Nigerian troops expected to arrive in Bamako today could be deployed there to secure the zone," a senior Malian military source told Reuters.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague says there is "no excuse" for the attack on an oil installation in Algeria that has left at least one Briton dead.
Map of the oil facility at Tigantourine, from this BBC article: Q&A: Hostage crisis at In Amenas, Algeria
- UPDATE - Twenty-five hostages escape Algeria siege - source
ALGIERS - Twenty-five foreign hostages, including two Japanese, escaped from the siege of a gas plant deep in the Algerian desert on Thursday, an Algerian security source said.
A group calling itself the "Batallion of Blood" has said it was holding 41 foreigners inside the gas compound, which it stormed on Wednesday, demanding France halt a military campaign against Islamist rebels in neighbouring Mali.
- France, like US in Somalia, may well find it hard to succeed and then leave #Mali as no local partner exists to hand over responsibility tocomment by Richard N. Haass via twitter 1/17/2013 12:50:17 PM
- French President Francois Hollande confirms French #hostages are inside besieged gas plant in Algeria http://bbc.in/101b3WPcomment by BBC Breaking News via twitter 1/17/2013 12:59:43 PM
- BREAKING: Several Western hostages and Al Qaeda-linked kidnappers killed by Algerian army air strikes - ANI News Agency
- BREAKING: 34 HOSTAGES AND 15 KIDNAPPERS KILLED BY AIR STRIKES BY ALGERIAN ARMY - ANI NEWS AGENCY
- The Islamist hostage-takers in Algeria are led by bandit who abducted Canadian diplomats in 2008, The Globe and Mail reports.
- BREAKING: 35 hostages and 15 hostage takers killed in Algeria as they tried to move from one plant location to another.comment by Al Jazeera English via twitter 1/17/2013 1:17:57 PM
- Algerian gov and the Russian gov has the same mentality that deal with the hostages.
Major General John Samuel Zaruwa, commandant of the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre, addresses a contingent being deployed to Mali, at the Nigerian Army peacekeeping centre in Jaji, near Kaduna January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Nigerian army soldiers gather as they prepare for deployment to Mali, at the Nigerian Army peacekeeping centre in Jaji, near Kaduna January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
- BREAKING: 34 hostages killed in air strike by Algerian forces
NOUAKCHOTT- Thirty-four hostages and 14 of their al Qaeda-linked kidnappers were killed on Thursday in an air strike by the Algerian armed forces, Mauritania's ANI news agency reported, citing one of the kidnappers holding captives at a desert gas field.
It was not immediately possible to independently verify the information from the agency, which has close contact with the group which has claimed responsibility for the mass kidnapping.
ANI reported that the spokesman for the kidnappers said they would kill the rest of their captives if the army approached.
- MANY DEAD AT SITE OF ALGERIAN HOSTAGE TAKING -RESIDENT AT LOCATION TELLS REUTERS
- VEHICLES OF HOSTAGE TAKERS DESTROYED BY ALGERIAN MILITARY -RESIDENT TELLS REUTERS
- Our latest wrapup of the siege in Algeria is out now. Read it here. 34 hostages are reported to have died, along with 14 of their kidnappers, in air strikes by the Algerian armed forces.
- Were air strikes on a gas plant where militants are holding Western hostages ever going to end well? Algiers may have some explaining to docomment by loughrichard via twitter 1/17/2013 1:42:07 PM
- Numbers of hostages do not add. 25 escaped, 34 dead & 41 in total ? Huh?
- @Ambergreen There are conflicting reports coming in of exactly how many hostages are involved in total.
- Very conflicting stories on all the different news sites. I guess its happening right now
- UK PM David Cameron updated on latest situation in #Algeria by Algerian PM in last hour, @foreignoffice says http://bbc.in/10gp8V8comment by BBC News (World) via twitter 1/17/2013 1:50:39 PM
- "Algeria will now firmly be dragged into resolving the Mali conflict, while also dealing with the return of major action by Islamist groups on its home turf," writes Angelique Chrisafis in The Guardian.
- SOME HOSTAGES STILL BEING HELD AT ALGERIA GAS PLANT AFTER MANY PEOPLE KILLED IN MILITARY STRIKE - LOCAL SOURCE
- 180 ALGERIAN HOSTAGES ESCAPE SIEGE -LOCAL SOURCE
- Algerian authorities have confirmed there is an "ongoing operation" at gas plant - British spokesman
- @Ambergreen @Mark Kolmar 150 hostages are claimed to be held by the kidnappers, not every victim of the recent air strikes is bound to be Western but could be Algerian as well.
- @Ambergreen Some sources say there were also 140 Algerian hostages.
- 180? Be serious!
- 34 hostages dead?! what kind of rescue operation is that?
- Six foreign hostages and eight rebels killed in Algeria military strike - local source
- mali conflict still going on
- Brussels-French foreign minister Fabius says all EU foreign ministers support French action in Mali.
- It's a mess!
- Some Americans believed to be among hostages who escaped, Fox News reports
Read more: www.foxnews.com
- A rescue operation or a disaster
BAGHDAD - Islamic State militants have set fire to oil wells northeast of the city of Tikrit to obstruct an assault by Shi'ite militiamen and Iraqi soldiers trying to drive them from the Sunni Muslim city and surrounding towns, a witness said.
- Ukraine military says one soldier killed in past 24 hours in east |
- Iran hints might be open to 10-year partial freeze of nuclear work
- Blast in Syria kills top al Qaeda commander, three others
- South Korea police say probing U.S. ambassador attacker's visits to North Korea
- U.N. Security Council to vote on chlorine arms use in Syria
- Saudi king aims for new Sunni bloc vs. Iran and Islamic State
- Palestinian leaders say they'll cut security coordination with Israel