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.
17:47 // 10 months ago
Al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels launched a counteroffensive in Mali on Monday after four days of French air strikes on their northern strongholds, seizing the central town of Diabaly and promising to drag France into a brutal Afghanistan-style war.
France, which has poured hundreds of troops into the capital Bamako in recent days, carried out more air strikes on Monday in the vast desert area seized last year by an Islamist alliance grouping al Qaeda’s north African wing AQIM alongside Mali’s home-grown MUJWA and Ansar Dine militant groups.
"France has opened the gates of hell for all the French," said Oumar Ould Hamaha, a spokesman for MUJWA, which has imposed strict sharia, Islamic law, in its northern fiefdom of Gao. "She has fallen into a trap which is much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia," he told Europe 1 radio.
The UN is already estimating that approximately 230,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Mali, and the French government has heightened security in many public locations to prevent a possible retaliatory attacks on France’s civilian population. President Francois Hollande was also sure to specify that France’s only goal in Mali is to support the mission of a 15-member group of West African nations which received United Nations support back in December. source
15:23 // 10 months ago