Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Death toll in Algerian abductions expected to grow

BC-ALGERIA-HOSTAGES:LA - world itop (450 words),0502

Death toll in Algerian abductions expected to grow

Los Angeles Times (MCT)

CAIRO - The United States, Britain and other countries sought to learn the fate of their citizens Sunday after Algeria announced that the death toll from a hostage-taking at a remote natural gas facility was expected to rise beyond the previous estimate of 23.

It was another painstaking day for security officials trying to determine how a band of Islamist militants overran the gas complex last week, and for families and nations awaiting word of new deaths. Britain confirmed that three of its citizens were killed and three are unaccounted for.

Algerian officials said security teams defusing mines and booby-trap explosives at the Sahara Desert site had found "numerous" bodies, according to the Associated Press. Algerian Communications Minister Mohamed Said Belaid was quoted by the state news agency as saying: "I am afraid unfortunately to say that the death toll will go up."

As many as seven U.S. hostages are missing, along with about 14 Japanese. Other captives included Norwegians, Malaysians and French.

Nearly 700 Algerians and 107 foreigners had been freed or had escaped from the gas field in eastern Algeria during the four-day attack by Algerian forces that ended Saturday. Officials said at least 23 hostages and 32 militants had been killed. But discrepancies remained over the nationalities of the dead and the exact number of those who died.

"The priority now must be to get everybody home from Algeria," said British Prime Minister David Cameron. "This is a stark reminder once again of the threat we face from terrorism the world over. We have had successes in recent years in reducing the threat from some parts of the world, but the threat has grown particularly in northern Africa."

Cameron, who had earlier appeared irritated that the Algerians did not inform foreign capitals before troops first stormed the refinery Thursday, tempered his criticism.

"People will ask questions about the Algerian response to these events," he said. "But I would just say that the responsibility for these deaths lies squarely with the terrorists who launched this vicious and cowardly attack. And I'd also say that when you're dealing with a terrorist incident on this scale, with up to 30 terrorists, it is extremely difficult to respond and to get this right in every respect."

The natural gas complex at In Amenas, near the Libyan border, is operated by BP, Statoil and Sonatrach, the Algerian national oil company. BP said four of its employees were missing.

Militants linked to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb raided the facility before dawn Wednesday. They claimed it was to avenge French airstrikes on Islamic rebels in neighboring Mali. But officials from the U.S. and other countries indicated the attack was planned ahead of this month's French military action.

Belaid said the militants were "nationals of Arab and African countries, and of non-African countries."

‚??-

©2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

‚??‚??‚??‚??‚??

Topics: t000002458,t000027866,t000027901,t000027879

Comments
Florida education news: Water pipes, gender rights, textbook choices and more

Florida education news: Water pipes, gender rights, textbook choices and more

IN THE WATER: A Pinellas County middle school continues to hand out water bottles to students as it clears its pipes of copper and iron. Officials say the levels are now safe, but want to keep up the effort as a precaution.GUNS ON CAMPUS: Two La...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Liberal super PAC takes aim at Adam Putnam

Liberal super PAC takes aim at Adam Putnam

The group that's known for tracking politicians, including Gov. Rick Scott, and promoting their embarrassing moments on video has a new quarry: Adam Putnam.American Bridge 21st Century, which formed in 2010 as a Super PAC accepting unlimited don...
Updated: 3 hours ago

AP Top News at 7:48 a.m. EST

AP Top News at 7:48 a.m. EST
Updated: 12 minutes ago

UNICEF: 400,000 Congo children suffering severe malnutrition

400,000 children in Congo's troubled Kasai region severely malnourished, UNICEF says
Updated: 12 minutes ago

NATO is giving Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg two more years at the head of the world's biggest military alliance

NATO is giving Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg two more years at the head of the world's biggest military alliance
Updated: 14 minutes ago
City official: San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee dead at 65

City official: San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee dead at 65

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed says that Mayor Edwin Lee has died at the age of 65.
Updated: 15 minutes ago
University of Oklahoma regent ignites outrage; board to meet

University of Oklahoma regent ignites outrage; board to meet

The University of Oklahoma board of regents is scheduled to meet for the first time since one of its members compared gay people to pedophiles
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Trump says accusations of sexual misconduct 'fabricated'

Trump says accusations of sexual misconduct 'fabricated'

President Donald Trump is pushing back against sexual misconduct allegations, saying he's the target of "false accusations and fabricated stories."
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Turbulent Senate race now in hands of Alabama voters

Turbulent Senate race now in hands of Alabama voters

A turbulent Senate election is down to voters in Alabama who will choose between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones
Updated: 22 minutes ago

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed says Mayor Edwin Lee has died at age 65

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed says Mayor Edwin Lee has died at age 65
Updated: 22 minutes ago