Seven hostages remain alive, say militants

Seven hostages are alive in Algeria, including three Belgians, two Americans, a Briton and a Japanese citizen, according to Islamist militants.

It is not known if the British hostage referred to is the captured 36-year-old Antrim man.

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.

The Brigade claimed responsibility for the original attack on the Algerian gas plant.

The British Foreign Office said the Algerian authorities confirmed that an operation was underway at the gas plant deep in the desert at In Amenas where the hostages were being held.

Reuters reported a local source as saying that six hostages and eight of their captors were killed in an Algerian strike on the complex close to the Libyan border.

The militants contacted a news agency in neighbouring Mauritania earlier today to claim that 35 hostages and 15 militants died when Algerian helicopters began strafing the plant.

Amid conflicting reports, an Algerian official said earlier today that 20 people, including Europeans and Americans, had managed to escape the kidnappers.

Britain is allowing the Algerian government to take the lead in the crisis and has received no requests for support, Downing Street said today.

Related Articles

More in this Section

Family's emergency accommodation 'causing concern for son's health'

No winner of Lotto jackpot

Colleague keeps watch as search for missing man concludes for tonight

Italy quake was felt in Ireland


Today's Stories

Rose of Tralee boss delighted Sydney Rose expressed Eighth Amendment opinion

Flight crew praised for handling of mid-air emergency and safe landing at Cork Airport

Campaigners call for end to direct provision after young mother dies at Cork centre

Pat Hickey's family hasn’t visited him in jail

Lifestyle

Food for thought on cutting costs of back-to-school

The cost of education can often catch people out

Woody Allen is enjoying his golden years

Social media giant faces up to gaming

More From The Irish Examiner