–UPDATED: January 17th, 11:43 PM The militant attackers have stated they have 7 hostages still alive, including nationals from the US, UK, Japan, and Belgium.–
The hostage situation in Algeria has continued develop after military forces were engaging Islamist militant at the BP gas refinery. While it was initially believed that dozens of the hostages had managed to escape, it has now been revealed that close to 50 people have been killed. At least 34 hostages, along with 15 kidnappers, were killed during a strike from Algerian troops.
A spokesman for the militants told Algerian press that military forces were using a helicopter in a counter attack on the facility. While the Islamists led a group of people towards some vehicles to get to safety, both hostages and militants were killed. The remaining al Qaeda-linked attackers are now saying they will kill any remaining hostages if Algerian troops do not withdraw and halt their engagements. While the foreign hostages are made up of nationals from a number of countries, including the U.S. Britain, Japan, France, and Norway, there has been no confirmation of the deaths from these governments, and it is impossible at this point to know who was killed.
Other media outlets have still reported that a group of Algerian workers from the BP plant managed to escape, possible along with one American. A source from British security has said under the condition of anonymity that Algerian troops were shooting at anything that moved, and ignored the warnings from both the hostages takers, and hostages who were allowed to speak to the media, to wait for negotiations in order to spare any lives.
In other communications with the abducted foreigners, a man identifying himself as Japanese told Al Jazeera that he and a Norwegian had been wounded by sniper fire. Two other nationals, one from Britain and one from Ireland, were allowed to contact their embassies and tried iterate that communications were breaking down, and urged Algerian military to withdraw from any confrontations.
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