Seven Americans Among Hostages Captured In Algeria In Retaliation Over French Mali Incursion

Tyler Durden's picture

Just because the endless Israel vs Iran foreplay seems to no longer be exciting the world as much as it did all throughout 2010, 2011 and 2012 when military action seemed imminent over and over, it appears the world has a new geopolitical tension point: the recent incursion into Mali by French (and soon many other) forces, to protect "European interests" against "extremists" operating in the North, and as a corollary - the retaliation by the locals against Western Democratic powers. At least such is the simplistic plot line. Sure enough moments ago Reuters reported that islamist militants attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 foreigners including seven Americans in a dawn raid in retaliation for France's intervention in Mali, according to regional media reports. The raiders were also reported to have killed three people, including a Briton and a French national. Subsequent reports indicate that the Algerian captives have been let go, and that this is purely an escalation against the invaders, an act which the US state department will harshly condemn at a 1pm press conference, and likely use as a catalyst to unleash US forces in the air or on the ground, to support the French campaign which at last check was going horribly.

The attack took place in the gas field in Amenas, Alegeria, operated by a joint venture of BP, Statoil and the Algerian state company Sonatrach, presented below (via Google Maps)

And just so the average American is up to speed, the keyword "Al Qaeda" has been unleashed. One assumes this is a different Al Qaeda than the one organizing and coordinating the Syrian opposition activities against the local government which the US is also not a fan of.

From Reuters:

An al Qaeda affiliated group said the raid had been carried out because of Algeria's decision to allow France to use its air space for attacks against Islamists in Mali, where French forces have been in action against al Qaeda-linked militants since last week.

The attack in southern Algeria also raised fears that the French action in Mali could prompt further Islamist revenge attacks on Western targets in Africa, where al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) operates across borders in the Sahara desert, and in Europe.

AQIM said it had carried out Wednesday's raid on the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria, Mauritania's ANI news agency reported.

The Algerian interior ministry said: "A terrorist group, heavily armed and using three vehicles, launched an attack this Wednesday at 5 a.m. against a Sonatrach base in Tigantourine, near In Amenas, about 100 km (60 miles) from the Algerian and Libyan border."

The gas field is operated by a joint venture including BP , Norwegian oil firm Statoil and Algerian state company Sonatrach.

BP said armed men were still occupying facilities at the gas field.

"The site was attacked and occupied by a group of unidentified armed people at about 0500 UK time. Contact with the site is extremely difficult, but we understand that armed individuals are still occupying the In Amenas operations site," it said.

Algeria's official APS news agency said a Briton and an Algerian security guard had been killed and seven people were injured. A French national was also killed in the attack, a local source said.

Also among those reported kidnapped by various sources were five Japanese nationals working for the Japanese engineering firm JGC Corp, a French national, an Irishman, a Norwegian and a number of Britons.

A member of an Islamist group styling itself the "Blood Battalion" was quoted by Mauritanian media as saying that five of the hostages were being held at the gas facility and 36 were in a housing area. APS said the Islamist raiders had freed Algerians working at the gas facility.

"The operation was in response to the blatant interference by Algeria and the opening of its air space to French aircraft to bomb northern Mali," the Islamist spokesman told Mauritania's ANI news agency.

ANI, which has regular direct contact with Islamists, said that fighters under the command of Mokhtar Belmokhtar were holding the foreigners.

Belmokhtar for years commanded al Qaeda fighters in the Sahara before setting up his own armed Islamist group late last year after an apparent fallout with other militant leaders.

The Algerian army was in the area of the gas facility, according to French and Algerian sources.

The attack was the first time in years that Islamist militants are known to have launched an attack on an Algerian energy facility.

The attack could have implications for security across the whole of Algeria's energy sector, which supplies about a quarter of Europe's natural gas imports and exports millions of barrels of crude oil each year.

Such an attack would require a large and heavily-armed insurgent force with a degree of freedom to move around -- all elements that al Qaeda has not previously had.

However, the conflict in neighbouring Libya in 2011 changed the balance of force. Security experts say al Qaeda was able to obtain arms, including heavy weapons, from the looted arsenals of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Statoil, a minority shareholder in the gas venture, said it had 17 employees at the plant and four of them had been evacuated. The company declined to comment on the other 13.

The five Japanese work for the engineering firm JGC Corporation, Jiji news agency reported, quoting company officials. JGC has a deal with Sonatrach-BP-Statoil Association for work in gas production at In Amenas.

A reporter for Japan's NHK television managed to call a JGC worker in Algeria.

The worker said he got a phone call from a colleague at the gas field. "It was around 6 a.m. this morning. He said that he had been hearing gunshots for about 20 minutes. I wasn't able to get through to him since."

French troops launched their first ground operation against Islamist rebels in Mali on Wednesday in an action to dislodge from a strategic town al Qaeda-linked fighters who have resisted six days of air strikes.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
TheGardener's picture

Owning a warrior vehicle will surely get you on some list.

We understand you lost your job under those circumstances,
We might be able to deploy you , though...

Cman5000's picture

You can also thank NATO for destabilizing Libya, fighters and weapons went all over North Africa after Qaddafi fell ...

ronaldawg's picture

I think a better interpretation is that Ghaddafi had a huge weapons cache that was "liberated" before and after he was killed. 

These are the weapons the feckless peasants of Mali are using.

So the question becomes should the dictator been left to kill his people or did NATO do the right thing?

Son of Loki's picture

Have 'they' set up the CB of Mail yet with GS clones at the helm?

otto skorzeny's picture

"Pa-I got the gold right here Pa"

ShankyS's picture

Let's not confuse the french with the great oulaw JW. 

AlaricBalth's picture

France must really, really want some help in Mali.

Shizzmoney's picture

The French Government has to be the weakest in the world.

BTW, Americans: do NOT go to these fucking countries with Islamic Extremists.  Tattooine is not worth the trouble.

Fortunate Fool's picture

"The French Government has to be the weakest in the world." coming from somebody living in a country where the people in charge can't agree on anything meaningful from the fiscal cliff, to the debt ceiling, to gun control, to... shall I say more?



falak pema's picture

I think Putin is right the US is now land of the stoned dead, drunk on coke n hubris. He won't let them adopt russian babies. 

Only kidding, but we do get a bunch of specimens here on ZH. 

Go Elizabeth Warren with 1/64 Cherokee blood there is hope for her not to push the green button when she votes stop the banksta rip off in Congress. 

Flakmeister's picture

Perchance did you overlook the Italians???

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

did you read about their botched hostage rescue? They reported 1 commando was killed and one captured, while the hostage got killed. The "terrorists" then affirmed that the hostage was in fact alive several hundred miles away.



Fortunate Fool's picture

Because we all know that the US military never failed any of its missions...


"A U.S. Army force in Mogadishu, consisting primarily of U.S. Army Rangers from 3rd Battalion75th Ranger Regiment; Bravo Company, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), better known as "Delta Force"; and helicopters from 1st Battalion,160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, attempted to seize two of Aidid's high-echelon lieutenants during a meeting in the city. Shortly after the assault began, Somali militia and armed civilian fighters managed to shoot down two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. The subsequent rescue operation to secure and recover the crews of both helicopters drew the raid, intended to last no more than an hour, into an overnight standoff in the city. The battle resulted in 18 U.S. deaths, 80 wounded, and 1 helicopter pilot captured among the raid party and rescue forces"


By the way, Tabarnac is not a french expression, it's a Canadian one, in case you didn't know.

otto skorzeny's picture

whatever happened to the pilot?

Ballin D's picture

He was released 11 days later.  They made a move about the whole thing.  "Blackhawk Down"

The frenchie above clipped his quote short.  "American sources estimate between 1500 and 3000 Somali casualties."  The midpoint makes that a 125-to-1 KD spread.  I will note that the Somalies claim it wasnt such an embarrassing blowout.

CPL's picture

If in French it would be baiseur de sa mère!!


Quebecer's are too polite and respect their mothers too much to let that come out without being beaten to death by any woman in ear shot then promtply beaten by the men.  So they curse the Church.   Tabarnac, Tabernacle.  Much easier than an ass beating.

Flakmeister's picture

Nique ta mere...

(phonetic, I could never get anyone to spell it for me...)

CPL's picture

Some words don't have a spelling in Quebecois because they are gaelic or local aboriginal dilects that are used in the language.  

Like Ottawa has Franglais even has Lebanese and a bit of Chinese mixed in it, so if you want to build your vocabulary, you listen to French in an near English sentence structure.  It's a bitch trying to fit the French language from that structure though into real French.  

The French changes past Hawesbury towards Montreal and the language flips back into French grammar structure.  It's so weird, listen for the change over right on the border.  Then there is a French language I heard over the summer near the border of Maine and New Brunswick and it almost sounded like Manx Gaelic being spoken with french verbs, it wasn't Accadian though....anycase language and historical dialects, a subject that is very cool.

Flakmeister's picture

And then there is Joual...

Was vacationing in St. Andrews-by-the-sea and got to listen to a number of skilled Acadien day-laborers at a bar, now that was a linguistic experience...

Flakmeister's picture

Mon ostie!

Damn, I wonder who spent the time to tabulate this?

An intricate example: ostie de tabarnak de calisse

I had'nt heard that since the time I was at the Montreal Pool Room and the guy splashed grease from the deep fryer on his leg...

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

Believe it or not I know a thing or 2 about french canadians...


as for the boondoggles of the US and any other nations - I wasn't calling your children ugly. I have nothing particularly nice to say about any of the western military stooges in general Including those within my own border other than they are filled with largely well meaning brainwashed kids and evil old string pullers.


Sorry to inflame your hemmorhoids.

FoeHammer's picture

Wow. That is something else. Not quite sure how to describe what I saw...

CPL's picture

It's one of the weirdest animations I've seen in a while.

Oh regional Indian's picture

It's brilliant. I re-watched it. SO much sub-liminal, background messaging. What a mind...'


LawsofPhysics's picture

No worries, Obama taking away our guns and providing everyone with their own security team.  I mean, what's good for him is good for everyone else right?

HardlyZero's picture

Now that all the Americans are disarmed, or if they are armed then will be promptly persecuted and locked-up, then maybe we can convince our leadership to get some kids to write some nice letters to the terrorific guests who have decided to encamp at the BP facility without any invitation, except the fact that they are now "there" so have a reason to be "there" because they have been "there" for over a day...and possession is 90% of the law.

How can we help send letters to those nice terrorific men ?


Another peace prize at stake clearly. 

Seasmoke's picture

i say leave them there, they have more freedom as hostages in Mali

dick cheneys ghost's picture

Germany is sending transport planes to Mali....................hmmmmm.......ah..nevermind



youngman's picture

maybe France said...."heres your gold...its in Mali...hahahaha..go get it yourself"

TheGardener's picture

Cessna`s would do for their share of the loot till 2020.

"Yes , sure you never held any gold with us.

But you are welcome on our quest to recover some..."

Wee will dou as you zsay.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

they've taken advantage of the funding and support via ben ghazi. Make sure and hide their nato pay stubs before you roll out the pictures of their corpses.

ziggy59's picture

Isn't Mali second or third to S. Africa in gold production? Maybe the French, need to fill their vaults with Germany getting their Phyzz back..

pods's picture

Think we can put that one in the "blowback" pile.


Volaille de Bresse's picture

Hey America to save your 7 dead-already expats "Who You Gonna Call? FRANCOIS HOLLANDE!" 


Well... you'd better order seven coffins instead... Hollande couldn't command his asshole to shit!


falak pema's picture

he did command that invasion. Are you suffering from blind spots?

youngman's picture

I have not even seen the first Bengazi so called Muslim movie......they already have a sequel?????

Oh and since the ONE just spoke of gun controll...he will be sending in the Girl Scouts on this one...

kralizec's picture

It is possible this blunder will end up more disasterous than the first intentionally stupid act.

youngman's picture

Does Clinton have another she falling down again....

otto skorzeny's picture

that big dildo she stuck up her cooch scrambled her brain

Renewable Life's picture

Hey, what do you got against dildo's?

Volaille de Bresse's picture

"Isn't Mali second or third to S. Africa in gold production? "


Hey you're right! So far I thought Mali was just a springboard to the more important Niger (and its uranium mines) but now I understand! Vive la France! Down with China! :-)

TheGardener's picture

Make no mistake, with the cold war over and the artificial
competition between east and west over and over again, why
not gracefully reconquer all those colonies ?

Never got junked by the lefties for mentioning imperialism , not even by my false friends from the left , who I just love to attack. The catch is I argue against Imperialism while
they are pushing for it , but that is an entirely different
story...and beyond their understanding, I must concede.

falak pema's picture

the constant gardner from saville row, very commendable. BTW : what is a watch list? 

Is it a wrist watch that got twisted? 

Maybe you have two left hands, like false friends with false teeth. 

HardlyZero's picture

Key Point: which way China comes down on these escapades.  I think China has been laying in sod in Africa for many years now...and China may have dibs on the take.  Between this and Japan and Taiwan...I think China has been getting ready too.