Thirty hostages and at least 11 Islamist militants were killed on Thursday when Algerian forces stormed a desert gas plant in a bid to free many dozens of Western and local captives, an Algerian security source said.
Details remained scant - including for Western governments, some of which did little to disguise irritation at being kept in the dark by Algeria before the raid and its bloody outcome.
Two Japanese, two Britons and a French national were among at least seven foreigners killed, the source told Reuters. Eight of the dead hostages were Algerian. The nationalities of the rest, as well as of perhaps dozens more who escaped, were unclear.
One of the worst international hostage situations in the modern era has now come to an end; unfortunately, Thursday evening brought about what many would consider to be the worst possible outcome. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the deceased.
UPDATE: Information from varying sources is wildly different, according to USA Today, with some suggesting just a few casualties and others, including the Reuters report, suggesting as many as 30 people have died.