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. the prophet

    Lunch is over.. am back

    January 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. saywhat

    France has compounded our already overwhelming problems albeit of our own creation. My prayers are with the hostages. may we see Americans return to their homes safely.

    January 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • yuri pelham

      and all terrorists dead

      January 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    The 'glorious' era of invading & occupying foreign lands, colonization and hegemony is over.

    January 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Skorpio

    A MASSIVE CONVERSION OF MUSLIMS TO CHRISTIANITY is the most pragmatic solution to stop global Islamic insanity, violence and discrimination. CHRISTIAN ARABS, with a few exceptions, are more peaceful, productive, rational than MUSLIM ARABS. DEVOUT MUSLIMS AND CLERICS -as opposed to any other religion- are the most perverse, intolerant, violent and discriminatory people, basically they imitate prophet Mohammed's conduct and actions.

    January 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • TaylorConcerned

      That is absurd. There are many peaceful muslims in the U.S. and Europe who are not violent at all and pose no threat. The religion itself is not the problem, it is the militant and violent perversions of Sharia law and ultra religious conservatism mixed with rampant poverty that is to be feared. Let me remind you that in the past it was the Christians that were just as violent. The Crusades anyone?

      January 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • pauleky

      To add on to what TaylorConcerned said, I'm just as concerned about the extreme fundamentalist Christians as I am of Muslim extremists. In fact, those folks have more of an impact to me personally in the U.S.A. They want a theocracy, which is scarier to me than any terrorist of any stripe.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparks2000

      taylor--you and others like you are pretty naive to believe muslims are peaceful.They are not all terrorists but most of them support the causes that the terrorists fight for,ie the destruction of Israel and stopping what they see as western invasion of their lands.Read up on what they teach in muslim schools in muslim country's--don't be so naive.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparks2000

      taylor-–the problem IS their religion-–what they teach and what they support.It is indeed a problem,and many have died because of it.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparks2000

      taylor-–the problem IS their religion-–what they teach and what they support.It is indeed a problem,and many have died because of it. Furthermore,the crusades were politically motivated wars hidden behind a 'christian veil.'christianity was a ruse used by the leaders of that day to get the people to fight for them,as their 'duty to God.'However,as with most wars,politics and money were the main factors.

      January 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. saywhat

    @Skorpio
    Are you sure? We in the West, the Christians more peaceful? Take a look again at history.
    And what is this global Islamic insanity exactly. Almost 1.5 billion people and more than 150 countries gone insane, cm'on now. Handful of extremists created by our follies and helped expand by our policies.
    Ignorance & hate. Those who traveled these lands before the invasions know better.

    January 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    Our unbalanced & lopsided foreign policy and penchant for military interventions has alienated regions vital to our strategic and economic interests. benefits going to other powers.
    We need a hard realistic look at our policies not wacky solutions.

    January 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. saywhat

    Folks, our unbalanced & lopsided foreign policy and penchant for military interventions has alienated regions vital to our strategic and economic interests. benefits going to other powers.
    We need a hard realistic look at our policies not wacky solutions.

    January 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tim Palmer

    Drop a nuke right in the center of the plant... send a message that taking hostages will not work. After you nuke them a couple of times they will get the message.

    January 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. empresstrudy

    No one cares. All Hail Obama

    January 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TvNyC

    These Muslim nations will keep.thinking they can just kill Americans and our allies, but we should all join forces with.our allies and conquer the world so nobody screws around with us. Nobody! this time the big empire doesn't fall. Lets start world war iii and get rid of all people that hate Americans and our.allies...we can do.it, there will be bloodshed and all but at the.end the evil will be gone. We also need to work on our country and start giving out harsher sentences to real criminals. They deserve it because they are evil and we cant tolerate evil anymore.

    January 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

      But seriously, folks...

      January 18, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TvNyC

    I take it back for what I said about the muslims. I think muslims are generally good people, its only the extremist muslims that cause trouble. Sorry to the Muslim world.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. Eternity

    Terrorists are usually stupid people who are driven by their emotions ( even Among the Terrorist group contains of Canadian , French , Mali , Egyptians and multi national terrorist group , even the leader of that group is mokhtar belmoukhtar which is an previous Afghani Veteran ) , and they're much of the time , a product of the Western intervention in weak nations ... Cmon , it was France's fault for sticking it's nose in the Area of Sahara , waging a war in Mali only made things worst than they were before seriously .
    France & Nato wage the war , and the Casualties will be paid by countries of the area ... so basically , Algeria is paying off the prize of leting

    January 19, 2013 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Eternity

    so basically , Algeria is paying off the prize of leting French military planes flying in it's south border .

    January 19, 2013 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. Eternity

    well ... I think the Algerian Army did a good job by making a quick move on the Terrorists , delaying will make it so hard since they might be taken to another countries like Libya , which will make it almost impossible to take them back , so they'll be checkmated by Terrorits's ransom damand ... and it'll even make them greedier to try other captivation operation in the so large and vast Algerian Sahara ... ALgeria is considered as the 10th lagest country in the world with over 2 millions Killometers ... so the Sahara is so vast , so if they don't take actions quickly , it may trigger other captivities in other oil & gaz facilties in the South .

    January 19, 2013 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. saywhat

    Those who are being led by propaganda on the Algerian hostage crisis should better read Robert Fisk's article on the hostage blood bath appearing in the 'Independant' today.
    12 of those hostages are dead, thanks to the Algerian military's 'quick move'.
    Hollande's, Cameron & other idiots have gone bonkers. Hope we don't join them.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      From what I understand, the extremists specifically wanted to disable the refinery and take all Expats as hostages to try to force the French out of Mali and to force the release of several of their group's leaders. This wasn't going to work so going after the bad guys immediately was a command decision and I think the correct one. Just hope most of the foreigners got out.

      January 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Germanne

      "Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."

      – Then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in a March 16, 2006 floor speech explaining his decision to oppose a request to increase the federal debt limit, then set at $8.2 trillion
      Why would he have such a great change in philosophy in 6 short years???

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