January 18th, 2013
05:35 PM ET

Report: 12 hostages killed in Algeria rescue operation

  • A hostage situation at a gas plant deep in the Algerian desert enters its third day.
  • Confusion surrounds the fate of potentially dozens of foreign hostages held by Islamist militants.
  • It remains unclear how many hostages have been killed or injured, and how many are still held.
  • Below are the latest updates as we get them. Also, you can read our full story.

[Updated at 5:33 p.m. ET] Algerian forces are looking to negotiate the release of remaining foreign captives, Algerian state media reports, but are holding out the threat of further action.

"The special forces of the (Algerian army) are still seeking a peaceful settlement before neutralizing the terrorist group currently entrenched in the refinery, and free a group of hostages who are still detained," according to a report by Algerian state news agency APS.

[Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET] One Frenchman was killed and three others were saved in an operation to free hostages in Algeria, the press office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris says.

[Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET] Twelve hostages have been killed since Algerian Special Forces launched a ground operation on Thursday to free captives held by militants at a gas field complex, APS, the official Algerian news agency, reported, citing a security source.

[Updated at 1:19 p.m. ET] A U.S. State Department spokeswoman says the U.S. will not negotiate a prisoner exchange with terrorists holding captives in Algeria. It was unclear how many, if any, Americans were being held hostage.

[Updated at 11:00 a.m. ET] A total of 650 hostages have been freed by Algerian Special Forces from the In Amenas gas complex in eastern Algeria, according to the state-run Algerian Press Service news agency. Of the 132 foreign workers taken, 100 were released. CNN has not independently confirmed the report.

[Updated at 10:41 a.m. ET] A senior Obama administration official tells this to CNN in regard to the hostage situation at Algeria's In Amenas gas complex:

"This situation is ongoing and sensitive and our top priority at this point is the security of the hostages. For those reasons, you should not expect real-time updates on the situation on the ground."

[Updated at 10:07 a.m. ET]Video from Algerian state TV shows an interview with one wounded hostage rescued from militants at the In Amenas gas complex. Lying on a stretcher, the wounded man tells a reporter, "I don't remember it happened. It happened so fast."

[Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET] Algerian state TV is showing the first video of Algerian workers freed from the In Amenas gas complex. The workers were shown exchanging hugs and waiting to board buses.

[Updated at 8:43 a.m. ET] Out of the 650 hostages freed from the Algerian gas complex, 573 were Algerians, according to APS, the Algerian state news agency.

The agency reports that "over half" of the 132 foreign workers who were held in the hostage crisis have been freed.

CNN has not independently confirmed the APS reports.

[Updated at 8:37 a.m. ET] A total of 650 hostages were freed by Algerian Special Forces from the In Amenas gas complex in eastern Algeria, after terrorists attacked the facility on Wednesday, according to APS, the Algerian state news agency.

[Updated at 7:34 a.m. ET] The U.S. is in the process of evacuating Americans and other individuals who were involved in the hostage incident at a gas plant in Algeria, a U.S. defense official tells CNN's Barbara Starr. The evacuees are being taken to U.S. facilities in Europe, the source said. About 10 to 20 evacuees were expected to be on the flight, according to the source.

[Updated 7:01 a.m. ET] Some hostages held in Algeria disguised themselves to escape, the head of a catering company which had 150 employees captured, told CNN on Friday.

Regis Arnoux, the chief executive of CIS catering, said the kidnappers separated foreigners from locals and tied the foreigners together at the beginning of the siege, then divided the group when they realized Algerian forces had surrounded the site.

[Updated 6:57 a.m. ET] The United States is working around the clock to ensure the safe return of our citizens, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in London on Friday morning as the Algerian hostage crisis remained fluid.

"Terrorists should be on notice that they will find no refuge, not in Algeria, not in North Africa, not anywhere," he said in a speech.

Seven Americans were reportedly among those taken hostage.

[Updated 6:46 a.m. ET] A "small number of BP employees" are still unaccounted for at the In Amenas gas installation in Algeria, the company said Friday. Three flights have left Algeria to bring workers home, and a fourth is expected today, the company said.

[Posted 6:41 a.m. ET] The terrorists who attacked a gas installation in Algeria on Wednesday were heavily armed and well coordinated, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday. The site is large and complex and the Algerians are still pursuing terrorists and possibly hostages, Cameron told the House of Commons. The number of British people unaccounted for at the scene is significantly less than 30, he said, refusing to give an exact number due to the complexity of the situation. Britain was not informed in advance of Algeria's military operation Thursday, he said.

soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    After reading graphic accounts of the terrorists' actions, I cannot think of them as human beings.
    I don't think that anyone could reason with those militants: their culture is so extremely bizarre that only great power will stop them.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Portland tony

    Well from what I understand, the Algerian militia just doesn't fool around with a bunch of lawless jihadist who try to do bad things in their country. While the superpowers were wringing their hands with indecision, they took it to these madmen and plain took em all out. The only way to defeat the enemy, in this case, was to kill them. That's the only way they can be stopped!

    January 19, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    Undoubtedly and no matter how one analyzes what has been happening in the past decade, reason and sagacity indicates that we have been proven wrong in assuming that military force alone is the solution.
    Without understanding & admitting what lies at the core, removing false perceptions, resolving festering issues not in the short term but taking a long term view, we risk being proven wrong again.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. saywhat

    The hostages killed now number 50.
    Most of us didn't even know that the unrest in Mali resulted directly from US-NATO war on Libya where militias from Mali trained by US were used in the unrest. The military coup in Mali was also similarly engineered by militias trained by us. The hostage crisis in Algeria is a consequence of French invasion of Mali.

    January 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. saywhat

    Read John Glaser's very informative write up On Mali 'Mali, Unintended Consequences...." today.

    January 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    Hope to God the party of war doesn't prevail again & we are pushed into another military disaster.

    January 20, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Portland tony

    The majority of the Tuaregas tribesmen who have caused all the problems in northern Mali actually were in Gadhafi's defeated army and fled to Mali with some pretty sophisticated weapons with the intent of establishing an Islamic state. These are the folks the French are currently doing war with in northern Mali.

    January 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. saywhat

    The Tuaregs who returned to N.Mali were armed and trained by US. So was Capt.Amadou Sanogo who overthrew Malian govt. Rise of the rebels in Mali & unrest is a direct result of US-NATO war in Libya.
    The French invasion has consequences which are detrimental to our interests.

    January 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. saywhat

    None of our business, its the African nations who should carry the responsibility.

    January 20, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. saywhat

    No moral or legal justification of French invasion.

    January 20, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rascal Rabble

    ...spoken likah true bootlegger!

    January 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. the prophet

    The middle turmoil is all a plan by the world powers to take it over and secure the most valuables resource which is
    ( Petroleum) known as crude, Russia and US are the main players in this conspiracy.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. the prophet

    The Middle East people are being deceived

    January 21, 2013 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
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