Islamists executed 9 Japanese in Algeria: witnesses

Islamists executed 9 Japanese in Algeria: witnesses

Islamists executed 9 Japanese in Algeria: witnesses

REUTERS/Ennahar TV via Reuters TV

Islamists holding foreigners hostage at a gas plant in the Algerian desert executed nine Japanese captives during a 72-hour stand-off with the military, Algerian witnesses said on Sunday.

"In all nine Japanese were killed," one witness identified as Brahim told AFP a day after special forces swooped on the In Amenas facility to end the deadly siege.

Bodies of 25 hostages found in Algeria gas plant: report

The bodies of 25 hostages seized by Islamists were found on Sunday inside a remote gas plant in the Algerian Sahara desert, media said a day after special forces swooped to end a deadly 72-hour stand-off, AFP has reported.

Citing security sources, Anis Rahmani, director of the private television channel Ennahar, told AFP the army discovered "the bodies of 25 hostages" as they sought to secure the sprawling site.

Earlier, Algeria's Communications Minister Mohamed Said had told a radio station: "I fear that it (the toll) may be revised upward," after at least 23 foreigners and Algerians, mostly hostages, were killed over the four days.

Up to six Britons killed in Algeria, Cameron says

Three British nationals have been confirmed killed during a hostage crisis at a gas plant in Algeria, and a further three Britons along with a resident of Britain are believed to have died, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday, Reuters has reported.

Islamist militants seized the remote compound in the Sahara desert before dawn on Wednesday, taking a large number of hostages. Details are still emerging of what happened when the Algerian army launched an assault to end the siege on Saturday.
"Tragically we now know that three British nationals have been killed and a further three are believed to be dead and also a further British resident is also believed to be dead," Cameron said in a televised statement.

"The priority now must be to get everybody home from Algeria ... and I've spoken this morning to our ambassador who is in Algiers and this morning will be going again to the south of the country to help coordinate that absolutely vital activity."

Foreign Secretary William Hague said shortly after Cameron spoke that 22 Britons who had been caught up in the hostage drama had flown home on charter flights organised by the government or by BP.

Cameron had told parliament on Friday he was "disappointed" Algeria had given him no advance warning of an operation to rescue hostages at the plant, but on Sunday he thanked Algeria for its actions.

"Now of course people will ask questions about the Algerian response to these events, but I would just say that the responsibility for these deaths lies squarely with the terrorists who launched this vicious and cowardly attack," he said.

"We should recognise all that the Algerians have done to work with us and to help and coordinate with us. I'd like to thank them for that. We should also recognise that the Algerians too have seen lives lost among their soldiers."

Asked whether the threat from militant groups in North Africa was as serious as the one that had once existed in Afghanistan, Cameron said: "It is different in scale but there are similarities.

"What we face is an extremist Islamist violent al Qaeda-linked terrorist group, just as we had to deal with in Pakistan and Afghanistan, so the world needs to come together to deal with this threat in North Africa."

Algerian gov't fears desert siege death toll may rise

Algeria Communications Minister Mohamed Said said on Sunday that the death toll of 23 foreigners and Algerians from an Islamist attack on a gas complex in the Sahara desert may rise, AFP has reported.

"I fear that it may be revised upward," Said told public Channel 3 radio, as several countries indicated they had citizens still missing after the deadly siege of the In Amenas complex ended in a bloodbath on Saturday. Algerians have not yet given the nationalities of the victims, leaving it to their home countries to elaborate.

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