February 15th, 2013
03:13 PM ET

Passenger sues Carnival over 'floating hell' cruise

Not even 24 hours after reaching land, a passenger on this week's infamously crippled Carnival cruise in the Gulf of Mexico has filed a lawsuit.

Passenger Terry Cassie of Texas has filed a lawsuit against Carnival in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida. The suit describes Carnival's Triumph cruise ship as a "floating hell."

The Triumph was towed into port in Alabama late Thursday night, five days after it lost power in a engine-room fire. More than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members lived in squalid conditions after the outage, with overflowing commodes splashing floors with waste as the ship listed, passengers reported.

Chavez temporarily having trouble speaking, Venezuelan official says
Chavez acknowledges supporters on the streets of Caracas in February of last year.
February 15th, 2013
10:53 AM ET

Chavez temporarily having trouble speaking, Venezuelan official says

[Updated at 11:24 a.m. ET] Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is temporarily having difficulty speaking following a procedure in which doctors inserted a tracheal tube, Venezuela's communications minister said Friday.

Chavez is going through a difficult recovery period following his recent cancer surgery, Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said at a news conference. Villegas displayed a picture of Chavez in his hospital bed surrounded by his children.

Chavez hasn't appeared in public or on national television since he went to Cuba for cancer surgery in December.

Crippled cruise ship slowly limping toward shore
February 14th, 2013
08:04 PM ET

Crippled cruise ship slowly limping toward shore

  • Tugboats towing crippled Carnival Triumph from Gulf of Mexico to Alabama port
  • Passenger to CNN by phone: "Just get us out of here."
  • More than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members living in squalid conditions since fire knocked out power on Sunday.
  • Ship expected in Mobile, Alabama, Thursday night or early Friday.
  • Get updates below; watch live; read our full story here; read: passengers, family vent online
  • Are you aboard? Share your story

[Updated at 8:04 p.m. ET] Triumph passenger Sylvester Davis, backing up what other passengers have said today, told CNN by phone that the ship was cleaner today.

“It got a lot better once the notification went out that the (National Transportation Safety Board) and the Coast Guard was coming on board," Davis said. "They spent a lot of time cleaning up, and it's sort of frustrating because it doesn't look like now the way it’s been looking and the way we've been living.”

[Updated at 7:36 p.m. ET] We've received video, taken Sunday morning, showing smoke from the fire that knocked out the ship's power. The video was sent to us by passenger Megan Clemons-Foxall.

[Updated at 7:26 p.m. ET] The end of the trip is near: The ship is about 17 miles from the dock. We're anticipating an arrival between 10 p.m. ET and midnight ET.

It won't be over immediately for the crew and passengers. Because more than 4,000 people are aboard, and there's just one working elevator, Carnival anticipates it'll take about four or five hours to get everyone off the ship.


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Police: Can't confirm body is Dorner's, but manhunt is done
February 13th, 2013
07:41 PM ET

Police: Can't confirm body is Dorner's, but manhunt is done

[Updated at 7:41 p.m. ET] San Berardino County Sheriff John McMahon says he can't positively confirm that a body found yesterday after a massive manhunt in California is that of murder suspect Christopher Dorner, but investigators believe the body is his, and the search is over.

"We’re not currently involved in a manhunt,” McMahon told reporters at a news conference Thursday.

The county coroner's division is working to positively identify the body, which authorities recovered from a cabin after officers stormed it following a shootout Wednesday afternoon in the San Bernardino National Forest.

McMahon also said that officers did not intentionally set the cabin on fire. McMahon said officers toward the end of the standoff fired pyrotechnic tear gas canisters into the structure, which then caught fire, but the fire "was not on purpose."

"We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out," McMahon said.

[Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET] Los Angeles police will not "speculate at this point" whether the body found after a massive manhunt in California is murder suspect Christopher Jordan Dorner, Police Lt. Andy Neiman told reporters Wednesday.

[Posted at 11:08 a.m. ET] The murder investigation targeting Christopher Jordan Dorner continues, but the Los Angeles Police Department has returned to a normal state of operations since Tuesday night, police spokesman said.

That's when police stormed a cabin where Dorner is thought to have died. Dorner is an ex-LA cop who vowed to kill police officers to avenge what he called an unfair termination.

February 13th, 2013
02:15 PM ET

Ireland to send troop trainers to Mali in ‘historic’ pairing with British

Ireland plans to send up to eight troops with UK service members to train forces in Mali - the first time the republic will have made a joint deployment with the UK since Ireland broke away last century, Ireland's defense ministry said.

“I believe that the provision of a joint UK/Ireland contingent is another step in the normalization of relations between” the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, Ireland Defense Minister Alan Shatter said Wednesday.


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Filed under: Ireland • Mali • United Kingdom
February 12th, 2013
11:45 PM ET

Police: Body found in cabin in hunt for Dorner

  • Person believed to be renegade ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner killed deputy, wounded another in shootout at California cabin Tuesday, authorities say
  • Hours later, SWAT team stormed cabin, which caught fire; sheriff's department says suspect believed dead
  • Police: Encounter came after suspect, in stolen vehicle, exchanged gunfire with warden, and then fled to cabin in San Bernardino National Forest
  • Dorner was subject of seven-day manhunt, suspected in three other deaths
  • We'll have updates below as we get them; full story here; also see KCAL/KCBS, KABC, KTLA.

[Updated at 3:43 a.m. ET Wednesday] The San Bernardino Sheriff's Office said early Wednesday morning that investigators have located charred human remains in the debris of the burned-out cabin where law-enforcement officers exchanged gunfire with a suspect believed to be Dorner.

The sheriff's office said the body has not been identified, and that identification will be attempted through forensic means.

[Updated at 12:33 a.m. ET Wednesday] New details about the suspect's encounter and shootout with game wardens before the shootout with sheriff's deputies at the cabin: Game wardens saw the suspect in two vehicles Tuesday.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Patrick Foy says two game wardens first chased the suspect as he was driving a purple Nissan in the San Bernardino National Forest. The wardens, in a patrol truck, had been told to look out for the Nissan, and they saw it driving in the opposite direction behind two buses.

Foy says the wardens did a U-turn and tried to follow the Nissan, but they lost him. Authorities now believe the suspect passed the buses and turned onto a different road, called Glass Road.

Later, three different wardens in two vehicles were driving on Glass Road and saw a white pickup truck traveling erratically toward them. One of the wardens believed he saw Dorner driving the truck.

The truck's driver fired a gun at one of the wardens' vehicles, Foy said. A warden got out and returned fire as the suspect drove away.

Foy said no warden was injured. He said he didn't know whether the suspect was shot.

Authorities say they believe the suspect ditched the second vehicle and entered a cabin, where he eventually exchanged gunfire Tuesday afternoon with San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies, killing one and wounding another.

Hours later, according to police, a SWAT team stormed the cabin, which caught fire after police detonated smoke devices inside the structure, a law enforcement source told CNN.

The San Bernadino County Sheriff's Department says it believes a body is in the cabin, but investigators have yet to examine the cabin because it was still smoldering.

[Updated at 11:45 p.m. ET] The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department is echoing the LAPD's refutation of reports that Dorner's body was found in the burned cabin, but it acknowledges investigators believe a body is there.

"We believe (the suspect) is still inside the cabin that caught fire," SBSD spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said.

Later, she said, "(Investigators) believe a body is in there," but that investigators still haven't been inside the cabin to look for one.

"It is too hot. (It's) still smoldering" and not safe to enter, Bachman said, adding that officials believe there still is live ammunition in the smoldering cabin.

"We believe that the person that barricaded himself inside the cabin and engaged in gunfire with our deputies ... is still inside there even though the building burned," she said.

[Updated at 11:13 p.m. ET] Los Angeles police are now contradicting media reports that a body was found in the cabin.

No such thing was found in the cabin, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman told reporters moments ago, because cabin is still burning and is too hot to search.

The spokesman said the LAPD will continue to protect the LAPD officers that Dorner - accused of targeting police officers because he the LAPD fired him in 2008 - allegedly identified as potential threats in a letter made public last week.

[Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET] We're awaiting a news conference from authorities regarding today's events. Could happen quite soon.

[Updated at 10:02 p.m. ET] A body believed to be that of Christopher Dorner has been pulled from the burning cabin, multiple law enforcement sources tell CNN contributor Tom Fuentes. The sources say they were told this by LAPD.

Law enforcement personnel will conduct a forensic exam to identify the body, the sources say.

[Updated at 9:53 p.m. ET] Some details on the surviving deputy who was wounded in today's shootout at the cabin: That deputy still is in surgery and is expected to live, San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller says.

That deputy was one of two deputies who were wounded in a shootout at the cabin in Califorina's San Bernardino National Forest on Tuesday afternoon. The other deputy was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital, authorities said.

The names of the deputies have not been released.

[Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET] The Los Angeles Police Department has scheduled a media briefing at midnight ET.

We're still waiting for details about the fire at the cabin, which began more than two hours ago.


February 9th, 2013
07:05 PM ET

Live blog: Reports of five deaths in Connecticut, governor says

[Updated at 8:42 p.m. ET] Authorities are now saying at least nine people were killed in accidents related to the storm - five in Connecticut, according to the governor, two in Canada, one in New York and one in Massachusetts.

[Updated at 7:05 p.m. ET] The storm has apparently resulted in more deaths. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said in a news conference that "we believe there are now five fatalities" tied to the storm. At least six deaths had been reported earlier: two in Canada, two in Connecticut, one in Massachusetts, and one in New York. It isn't clear whether the two deaths reported earlier in Connecticut were among the five Malloy mentioned.


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Filed under: Boston • Canada • Connecticut • Maine • Massachusetts • New Hampshire • New York • Rhode Island • Vermont • Weather
States declare emergencies ahead of major storm
A snowman is all smiles Friday on Boston Common.
February 8th, 2013
06:17 PM ET

States declare emergencies ahead of major storm

  • Potentially historic winter storm closes in on New England
  • Boston could get just under 2 feet; worst could hit from 5 p.m. Friday to Saturday morning
  • About 1 foot expected in New York City; heaviest snowfall there expected to start at 7 p.m. Friday
  • Check back here for the updates; full story here; see if storm affects where you live.

Up to 30 inches of snow. That's how much some predicted could be dumped on Boston by the time this blizzard was done - which would amount to a new all-time snowfall record for the Massachusetts city, one hardly unfamiliar with winter storms.

These kind of forecasts, throughout the Northeast, were matched by frequent calls by officials to hunker down. The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut ordered cars off the roads. In Boston, that translated to largely empty streets - spare a few plows - on what would have been Friday rush hour.

That meant fewer people out to experience the elements - in the form of small, icy snowflakes blowing in winds that, in some places, gusted up to 60 mph. That intensity of snow, and wind, was expected to continue - if not get even stronger - into Saturday morning.

[Updated at 6:17 p.m.]  The storm has taken a toll on flights to and from the Northeast.

U.S. airlines have cancelled more than 4,700 flights that were to take off from Thursday to Sunday.


February 7th, 2013
08:04 PM ET

Blizzard warnings issued for Boston, New York City

  • Two significant storm systems expected to converge overnight across the Northeast, create what could be a historic blizzard
  • Boston could get up to 3 feet of snow from Friday to Saturday; New York City could get up to 3 feet
  • Read below for updates as we get them; full story here

[Updated at 8:04 p.m. ET] Nearly 3,000 flights have now been canceled in anticipation of the inclement weather, most of which is expected late Friday into Saturday.

Amtrak also has canceled many trips in the Northeast corridor. The rail transit company said on its website that northbound service from New York's Penn Station would be suspended after 1 p.m Friday.

[Updated at 6:51 p.m. ET] Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy says utility companies there are bringing additional crews from out of state to deal with potential power outages. Metro-North rail lines could also be closed at any time should winds exceed 40 mph.


February 6th, 2013
02:58 PM ET

Navy minesweeper might be on reef until April

Removing a stranded U.S. minesweeper from an environmentally delicate reef off the Philippines may take until April, the state-run Philippines News Agency reported Wednesday, citing the Philippines Coast Guard.

The U.S. Navy is preparing to extract the USS Guardian from the Tubbataha Reef, a Philippine national park and UNESCO World Heritage site where the 224-foot-long ship ran aground on January 17.

The Navy plans to cut the 1,312-ton minesweeper into pieces and then, with the help of two contracted crane ships, lift the pieces and carry them away.

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February 6th, 2013
10:34 AM ET

Boy Scouts delay vote on gay membership ban

We're going to have to wait a bit longer to see whether the Boy Scouts will drop their across-the-board ban on openly gay members.

The Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday delayed its vote on a proposal to let local troops decide whether to allow openly gay members and leaders.

The organization, which had been expected to vote Wednesday, said it needs more time to get input from its members. The vote will now be held in May.

"After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy," the group said Wednesday morning.

"To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns."

Read more about the delay here.

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Ski champion Vonn tore MCL and ACL, suffered fracture in race
Lindsey Vonn is airlifted after she crashed during the Alpine Ski Wold Championships in Schladming, Austria, on Tuesday.
February 5th, 2013
01:13 PM ET

Ski champion Vonn tore MCL and ACL, suffered fracture in race

[Update 1:13 p.m. ET] Still more details about Lindsey Vonn's serious knee injury today at the Alpine Ski World Championships: She suffered a torn ACL and MCL in her right knee, and also fractured her lateral tibial plateau, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said.

The tibial plateau is the top of the shinbone, at the knee joint.

The 2010 Olympic downhill gold medalist "will be out for the remainder of this season but is expected to return to racing for the 2013-14 Audi FIS World Cup season and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi," the association said.

[Update 12:54 p.m. ET] New details about Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn's crash today at the Alpine Ski World Championships: She suffered a complex torn ligament in her right knee, according to Dr. Christian Kaulfersch, who is treating her at a hospital in Schladming, Austria.

Vonn's U.S. team is deciding whether to fly her back to the United States or keep her in Europe for a possible operation, Kaulfersch said.

[Update 10:51 a.m. ET] Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn was airlifted to a hospital Tuesday after she crashed during the opening day super-G at the Alpine Ski World Championships in Austria, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said.

The American suffered a "complex knee injury," according to the hospital where she was taken. Her injuries are not life-threatening, a hospital spokesman said.

Vonn was immediately attended to by race medical officials in Schladming, Austria, before being transported to the hospital, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said in a statement on its website.

Vonn, 28, won the downhill gold in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and is a four-time overall Alpine Ski World Cup champion.

January 24th, 2013
01:14 PM ET

Female war veteran: I'd like to see women as Navy SEALs

One of the U.S. servicewomen who sued the Defense Department over its policy against women in combat says she hopes a pending reversal allows some women to enter special-force units like the Navy SEALs.

Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Jennifer Hunt said Thursday she doesn't know yet whether Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's reported decision to open combat jobs to female troops renders her lawsuit moot.

“We're still in a wait-and-see pattern and cautiously optimistic" about Panetta's decision, Hunt told CNN's Ashleigh Banfield on Thursday morning.

Hunt, who was awarded the Purple Heart after an explosive device injured her in Iraq, said that "women have been demonstrating for the past 11 years during these conflicts that they are able and willing to execute the missions that are put before them."

A senior defense official told CNN that even with Panetta's decision, branches may decide that certain jobs still will be off-limits to women. Hunt said she hopes that women will be allowed even in special-force units such as the Navy SEALs, which have especially tough physical standards.

“I definitely think that women have the capability to put forth the effort to accomplish any mission that the military sets before them and take full advantage of any opportunity that the military gives them, so I’d definitely be excited to see those career paths opened up to my female counterparts,” Hunt said.

Ban on women in military combat roles ending
Ex-troops: Decision is long overdue
Readers skirmish over women in battle

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Filed under: Military
January 24th, 2013
11:15 AM ET

Watch live: Feinstein proposes banning 100+ firearms

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is offering details on her proposal to federally ban some assault weapons, as well as ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

You can watch the announcement in Washington live on CNN.com.

Her measure is designed “to help end the mass shootings that have devastated families” and communities, she said. The proposal comes about a month after a shooting that killed 20 children and six women at a Connecticut elementary school.

Feinstein, while making the announcement, also is displaying examples of weapons that would be banned. Her measure would stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of more than 100 specialty firearms and certain semi-automatic rifles, as well as limiting magazines to 10 rounds or less. Not all of the weapons in the bill meet the technical definition of assault weapons.

The measure would not cover weapons already owned before it passed, as well as other hunting, sporting, antique, manually operated and disabled weapons.

Watch Kerry's confirmation hearing live
Sen. John Kerry attends President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony in Washington on Monday.
January 24th, 2013
10:48 AM ET

Watch Kerry's confirmation hearing live

Sen. John Kerry's bid to get Senate approval for his nomination to secretary of state is officially under way.

Kerry, D-Massachusetts, is testifying at his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he happens to chair. The longtime senator could sail to an easy confirmation, as politicians from both parties expressed optimism he would win approval.

If he is confirmed, he said at the start of the hearing, he will "look forward to continuing to work particularly closely" with members of the committee, which he has chaired for the last four years.

You can watch the Senate hearing live on CNN.com.

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Filed under: Politics
Live blog: Clinton testifies before House on Benghazi attack
January 23rd, 2013
05:03 PM ET

Live blog: Clinton testifies before House on Benghazi attack

[Updated at 5:03 p.m. ET] And after three hours, the session is over. The panel's chairman, Rep. Edward Royce, R-California, ends the session by saying he's concerned whether the independent review board captured fully what happened in Benghazi.


Live blog: Clinton testifies before Senate on Benghazi attack
Secretary of State Clinton appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.
January 23rd, 2013
12:13 PM ET

Live blog: Clinton testifies before Senate on Benghazi attack

[Updated 12:13 p.m. ET] CNN's chief Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper, says he wasn't surprised that Clinton became emotional when she recalled calling the families of the two State Department personnel who died in Benghazi - Ambassador Chris Stevens and computer expert Sean Smith.

"A lot of diplomatic people, we don’t perceive hem in this country as necessarily putting their lives at risk - we think, oh, they work for the State Department, their job is not as dangerous. And it’s not true," Tapper said. "And people like Secretary Clinton have now learned that firsthand. … The other point to take is, from sources close to her, this really did take a very, very, strong emotional toll on her. In addition to an exhausting job, I think probably it’s all part and parcel of the exhaustion we’ve seen that she’s been suffering.”

[Updated 12:05 p.m. ET] CNN's chief Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper, sums up the criticism that Clinton received from some Republicans on the Senate panel this morning:

"Republicans were focused on two areas of criticism. One, of course, (was) the fact that the administration - specifically the United Nations Ambassador Dr. Susan Rice - initially in the Sunday show appearances ... (gave the view that) this was not a terrorist attack, this was a spontaneous protest because of that anti-Islam video, which of course turns out not to have been the case.

"And a lot of senators - Ron Johnson and John McCain especially - focused on why were these talking points false. Specifically, Johnson said that Dr. Rice was purposefully misleading the American public. Dr. Rice, of course, has said she was not - that she was merely using the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and that there was no effort to mislead. She was providing as much information as she knew at the time.

"The other area where there was significant criticism, of course, came from Sen. Rand Paul, who was talking about the lack of accountability - how come nobody was fired? He said that if he had been president at the time ... he would have relieved Secretary Clinton of her job, specifically for not having read all of these cables from on the ground in Libya, of diplomatic personnel requesting more security in the months leading up to the attack."

[Updated 11:37 a.m. ET] This morning's hearing has concluded.


January 22nd, 2013
06:08 PM ET

3 injured in shooting, fight at Lone Star College in Houston

  • Three people, including a maintenance man who was accidentally shot and two people who were fighting each other, were injured during fight at Lone Star College campus in Houston, Texas, officials say
  • Fourth person also sent to hospital with medical condition, officials say
  • It's not immediately clear whether one or two people fired shots, or how the two "persons of interest" were injured
  • Below are updates as they came to us; full story here. Also, check out CNN affiliates KHOU, KPRC and KTRK

[Updated at 6:08 p.m. ET] "We don’t know exactly if she had a heart attack or a stroke,” Harris County sheriff's spokeswoman Christina Garza says of the female who was hospitalized with an unspecified medical condition.

[Updated at 5:44 p.m. ET] According to officials at a news conference, four people were taken to hospitals - three who were injured and one who suffered an unspecified medical condition - but the account of who they were differs from information we received earlier.


NFL reinstates Saints' Payton after yearlong suspension
Sean Payton is back with his team after a year's suspension over the team's bounty scandal.
January 22nd, 2013
11:31 AM ET

NFL reinstates Saints' Payton after yearlong suspension

Sean Payton's season of exile from the National Football League is officially over.

The NFL on Tuesday reinstated the New Orleans Saints head coach after he served a seasonlong suspension for the Saints' bounty scandal. The reinstatement came after Payton met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and "acknowledged ... his responsibility for the actions of his coaching staff and players," an NFL news release said.

"Sean fully complied with all the requirements imposed on him during his suspension," Goodell said in the release. "More important, it is clear that Sean understands and accepts his responsibilities as a head coach and the vital role that coaches play in promoting player safety and setting an example for how the game should be played at all levels.”

Payton said he was "thankful today Commissioner Goodell has granted me reinstatement."

"As I stated back in March, I, along with (Saints General Manager) Mickey Loomis, take full responsibility for all aspects of our football program,” Payton said in a statement released by a Saints spokesman.

"I clearly recognize that mistakes were made, which led to league violations. Furthermore, I have assured the commissioner a more diligent protocol will be followed."

Payton's reinstatement is immediate, meaning he can attend this week's Senior Bowl, a college all-star game featuring NFL Draft prospects.

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Filed under: Football • Louisiana • New Orleans • Pro football • Sports
January 18th, 2013
03:30 PM ET

What we know - and don't - about Algeria hostage situation

Reporting on militants' seizure of workers at a natural-gas complex in eastern Algeria has been a special challenge, in part because outside journalists need a visa and accreditation before they can enter the country.

Access to live information from the Sahara Desert facility - which British Prime Minister David Cameron this week noted was "one of the most remote places in the world" and about "18 hours by road from the capital, Algiers" - is hard to come by, and conflicting accounts have emerged about the hostages and other aspects of the story.

Here is a look at what CNN has reported from:


Initial attack on Wednesday

- The incident began when militants attacked workers who were traveling from In Amenas gas field to the In Amenas Airport early Wednesday, Algerian Interior Minister Diho Weld Qabilyeh told Algerian state television. Two people, an Algerian and a Briton, were killed in that attack, according to Algerian and British officials.

- After security forces accompanying the workers returned fire, the militants went to the gas installation itself and took hostages, Qabilyeh told Algerian state television.


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