34 Hostages, 14 Kidnappers Killed In Algerian Standoff
The Algeria hostage situation reported yesterday, where alleged Al Qaeda operatives took numerous hostages at a local BP, Statoil and Sonatrach JV gas plant in retaliation for the French incursion into Mali, has rapidly gone from bad to worse as some 34 hostages (out of the 41 originally reported) have been killed.
Thirty-four hostages and 14 of their al Qaeda-linked kidnappers were killed on Thursday in an air strike by the Algerian armed forces, Mauritania's ANI news agency reported, citing one of the kidnappers holding captives at a desert gas field.
It was not immediately possible to independently verify the information from the agency, which has close contact with the group which has claimed responsibility for the mass kidnapping.
ANI reported that the spokesman for the kidnappers said they would kill the rest of their captives if the army approached.
And since of the original 41 hostages taken, 7 were US, the question is how many Americans were just killed. Expect a prompt response by the State Department as well as rapid escalation in West African hostilities.