American hostages fate unknown
Algeria’s interior ministry says the nation’s hostage crisis has ended with 23 hostages and 32 militants killed in the violence. On Saturday the ministry said Saturday security forces managed to free 107 foreign hostages and 685 Algerians.
Algeria’s official APS news agency said the country’s special forces stormed a natural gas complex earlier Saturday in their “final assault” on Islamists who had been holding scores of hostages in the desert facility.
France endorsed Algeria’s handling of the situation Saturday, saying it was the “most appropriate” response since it was not possible to negotiate with the “coldly determined terrorists.”
British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta discussed the crisis at a news conference in London Saturday. Hammond said the terrorists bear the “sole responsibility” for the deaths.
Several Americans were among those being held. Panetta said he had only “sketchy information” about them and would not comment until he had better details. But he renounced terrorist attacks on Americans across the globe.