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Hostages remain in danger as gas plant seige goes on

18 January 2013

Much remains unclear in the ongoing hostage crisis at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria, now ringed with tanks and troops. What we do know is the Algerian army says it went in fast, without consulting foreign embassies, to prevent the large numbers of foreign workers being taken out of the country. The numbers of dead since the crisis began on Wednesday cannot be confirmed. Thursday’s army assault was partially successful. Nearly 600 Algerian and 100 of the estimated 132 foreign hostages are free. Part of the vast gas complex has been secured, but there are still individuals hiding, in contact with the outside world via phones and dodging an unknown number of assailants, a group of whom may be holed up with explosives and a number of foreign hostages. Several eyewitnesses have also made it clear the attacker’s prime targets were the “Christians and infidels” on-site, as they were separated immediately and taken away. Algerian workers said the attackers told them the foreigners would all be put to death.