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. EVN

    The confusion and lack of clear information is astounding. The "600" hostages escaped/where rescued being bandied about is going to turn out to be nothing more than a ploy to make the raid look like a success of sorts. I don't fault Algeria for conducting their operations, but this is going to turn out to be a big mess.

    January 18, 2013 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. the prophet

    Are people listing to the news so non evil! This all a political stunt

    January 18, 2013 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • JCFinley

      Oh, so this is another conspiracy, apparently directed at you for some indiscernible reason. They will be coming to take you away.

      January 18, 2013 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. the prophet

    I think Americans are so disconnected here at home that the Government do what ever they want and say whatever they want while Most people work for nothing paying into a system that is broken

    January 18, 2013 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. steve

    now the military gets to come in and clean up the mess...where were they when they were needed..oh yes sitting on the taramac waiting for the ok to go save american lives...to late

    January 18, 2013 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. J Walker

    If the USA would keep their nose out of the Middle East (where they have no business) then we wouldn't be typing here today. Americans are now BROKE, POOR and don't have a government that cares. WHY are American dollars being sent out of the US of A for ANYTHING? I wish Americans would wake the ****up and take their country back and rid themselves of this atrocity of a government. It's sickening to read and what purpose is there to even be there except for corporate greed.
    I hope Americans find their way home and STAY there after this. Fire them all in the W.H. ... anyone who supports this is as treasonous as the administration.

    January 18, 2013 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      You know Walker it's a funny thing.. We go somewhere and we're chastised.

      We don't go somewhere (think Syria) and guess what.. same thing.

      Glad you were able to pick a side, cause it's not like we care what you think.

      January 18, 2013 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Wrong without international trade our economy would collapse and in order to make sure we get the most out of a region we have to do things and make nice with people we might not like but that's how the game is played

      January 18, 2013 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. FREEDOM

    Then start a revolution

    January 18, 2013 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. ronvan

    AMAZING! Just read the comments on any blog and you can see why OUR country is so messed up! Lets send OUR troops in RIGHT NOW? YET, we are disgusted with how long we have been in Afganistan and want our troops home NOW! These people are working in these countries not only because they have the skills, but because of the MONEY!
    Just like the rich owners! YES, right now there is ALOT of confusion. Where did this 600 people number come from?
    YES, Algeria wants to do this themselves. SO WHAT! There are several countries who have people being held hostage, so unless ALL of them agree to participate is some kind of rescue, then WHY should it be the USA do it alone? We are NOT the only country that has highly trained forces to deal with situations like this!

    January 18, 2013 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. JCFinley

    There is not a person here that has responded that apparently has a real life. Here you are on the outside trying to tell us what is going on in the inside. I spent 12 years in the U.S. military with honor and all we get now is outsiders with nothing else to do tell us what is really happening. You should all be collected and transplanted to Mars. Wait, that would be unfortunate for Mars.

    January 18, 2013 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • :)

      thanks for your service! as someone who grew up overseas as an air force brat, i am also baffled by what US civilians think goes on with the military... it's sad.

      January 18, 2013 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt in KY

      Thank you for your long military career. YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT (maybe not the Mars part)!

      January 18, 2013 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jonsie

    If Paneta is in charge, we definitely need to worry about those hostages!! I'm sure Obama is way too busy planning his parties the worry about American hostages!!

    January 18, 2013 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. Fred

    I have to agree, the information is all over tha place on this.

    January 18, 2013 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. crowgan

    I applaud Algeria military for moving quickly. If they sit back and do nothing, then the hostages are split up and taken out of the country, making it nearly impossible to rescue them later. Doing nothing would just encourage future hostage taking. And these terrorists don't negotiate. The Algerians know that. Those hostages were never going to be released. Either kept forever, or murdered. Unfortunate that many lost their lives, but that is the risk of working over there.

    January 18, 2013 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. the prophet

    @GCF thanks, to all my followers brothers spread the word its time for a revolution

    January 18, 2013 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. the prophet

    I think the Algerian extremists are desperate for money using terrorist tactics in attempt to extortionate billions of dollars from the US and other countries. When will the US focus on the people at home and their needs, like education, jobs , and most of all a higher standard of living. The majority of middles class families are poor and can't pay bills.

    January 18, 2013 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rick

    If this had occured in Syria, Assad would have killed, captured and executed every islamist by now.

    Obama is a miserable failure, continuing the policies of the incompetent george w bush.

    January 18, 2013 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Sally

    What a bunch of useless dumb information...how many dead? How bad did the algerian forces screw up? Where are the Americans?????

    January 18, 2013 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
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