Militant: 35 hostages die in Algeria raid, 7 live

Militant spokesman says 35 hostages dead in Algeria raid, 7 alive

Associated Press
Algeria: Army rescues hostages, toll unclear
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In this undated image released Wednesday Jan. 16, 2013, by BP petroleum company, showing the Amenas natural gas field in the eastern central region of Algeria, where Islamist militants raided and took hostages Wednesday Jan. 16, 2013. Islamist militants from Mali attacked the Amenas natural gas field partly operated by BP in Algeria early on Wednesday, killing a security guard and kidnapping at least eight people, including English, Norwegian and Japanese nationals, an Algerian security official and local media reported. Algerian forces, later caught up with and surrounded the kidnappers and negotiations for the release of the hostages are ongoing, officials said.(AP Photo/BP)

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- Islamic militants have told a Mauritanian news outlet that that 35 hostages were killed but seven are still alive after Algerian military helicopters strafed a gas complex deep in the Sahara.

The spokesman for the Masked Brigade, which claimed responsibility for the attack Wednesday on the Algerian gas plant, said Thursday the survivors included three Belgians, two Americans, a Briton and a Japanese citizen.

The information came from the Nouakchott Information Agency, which often carries reports from al-Qaida-linked extremist groups.

The militant spokesman said the kidnappers were attacked by Algerian helicopters as they tried to leave the complex.

Algeria's news agency, citing local police, said four foreign hostages were freed in the operation.

The Algerian government would not immediately comment and the Associated Press could not confirm the information independently.

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