According to the AP in a report filed at 11:12 EST, Algerian forces stormed the natural gas facility where an unconfirmed number of Americas and other nationalities were held hostage, and “the siege is over.” Apparently, a fire broke out inside the complex, with “at least 19 hostges and 29 Islamist militants” killed. The Drudge Report headlined with Report: All Hostages Dead in Algeria. UPDATE 12:02 pm CST: Greg Palkott on Fox News is reporting this minute, reports that 2 Americans escaped today.
UPDATE 1-21-13 @ 10:39 am CST: The Boston Globe is now confirming two previously unaccounted for Americans are among the dead in this act of Islamic terrorism in Algeria, bringing the total number of Americans dead to 3: Victor Lynn Lovelady, Gordon Lee Rowan and including Mr. Buttaccio.
UPDATE 1-20-13 @ 9:20 am CST: It appears the Drudge headline “All Hostages Dead in Algeria” was accurate. Here is a snippet of this morning’s report from the AP posted at 8:32 am EST:
Algerian special forces stormed the natural gas complex in the Sahara desert on Saturday to end the standoff, and the government said all 32 militants were killed. Earlier Sunday, Algeria’s chief government spokesman said he feared the toll of hostages – which stood at 23 on Saturday – would rise as the special forces teams finished their search….
With few details emerging from the remote site in eastern Algeria, it was unclear whether anyone was rescued in the final operation, but the number of hostages killed Saturday – seven – was how many the militants had said that morning they still had. Read more here.
ABC News reported yesterday, January 19th, that Mark Cobb, a Corpus Christi, Texas man is safe. Cobb is said to be the Senior Manager of the BP facility, and this morning, January 20th, they report 7 Americans escaped, with Mr. Buttaccio dead, and the fate of two more Americans still unknown.
Shortly before 9 am CST, January 20th, Voice of America reported Britain confirming three Brits are dead, and three more believed to be dead. When Algeria made its initial rescue attempt last Thursday, 107 “foreign hostages” are reportedly freed.
The latest deaths bring the official Algerian tally of dead to 19 hostages and 29 militants, although reports on the number of dead, injured and freed have been contradictory throughout the crisis. Militants originally said they had seized 41 foreign hostages…
In their final communications, the militants said they were holding seven hostages: three Belgian, two Americans, a Japanese and a Briton. They had threatened to kill them if the Algerian army attacked.
Algerian authorities estimated that about 30 militants occupied the Ain Amenas site Wednesday and with 18 already reported dead, it appeared Saturday that the hostage crisis was finally over. Source
The al-Qaeda group holding the hostages reportedly wanted to exchange two Americans for Abdel-Rachman, known as the Blind Sheik, who is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison.
Yesterday, Frederick Buttaccio, a resident of Texas was reported dead from suffering a heart attack at the time of the al-Qaeda attack.
Chances are this report will change. Standby. I’ll update as information becomes available. Graphic Credit: Mirror News