UK & World News
Algeria Hostage Crisis: Military Operation 'Ends'
An unknown number of hostages are thought to have been killed after Algerian military stormed a gas plant where they were being held by Islamist gunmen.
The nationalities of those killed in the assault is unknown, but David Cameron said Britain should be "prepared for the possibility of further bad news".
The Prime Minister has postponed his speech on Europe on Friday in the Netherlands to stay in the UK to deal with the situation.
Algeria's military launched a raid at the In Amenas complex, near the border with Libya. The country's state news agency APS said the army had ended its operation, reported the Associated Press.
Sky sources said the main accommodation complex had been secured, while a search was ongoing in a gas storage area.
The attackers were wearing military uniforms when they first took over the complex on Wednesday, Sky sources added.
Algerian communications minister Mohammed Said Belaid said Thursday's operation by the army was "successful in neutralising a large number of terrorists and freeing a large number of hostages but unfortunately, we are sorry to say, there were some deaths and injuries".
He added: "We do not yet have a definitive figure. As soon as we have it, we will make it public".
One British citizen is known to have died in the crisis, while several others were caught up in the drama.
Mr Cameron said: "We face a very bad situation at this BP gas compound in Algeria. A number of British citizens have been taken hostage.
"Already we know of one who has died. The Algerian armed forces have now attacked the compound."
He added: "It's a fluid situation, it's ongoing, it's very uncertain. We should be prepared for the possibility of further bad news, very difficult news, in this extremely difficult situation."
Foreign Secretary William Hague is cutting short a visit to Australia to return to the UK to help deal with the crisis.
Earlier, news agencies said some people had been killed in the wake of the strike by the Algerian military, while a number of hostages had reportedly been freed.
Mauritania's ANI news agency reported the deaths citing one of the kidnappers who had earlier taken 41 people, including Britons, captive at the compound.
And French president Francois Hollande said the hostage crisis was unfolding in "terrible conditions".
The official Algerian APS news agency said a number of foreign hostages were freed. Among those who managed to get out was 36-year-old Irishman Stephen McFaul from west Belfast.
His father, Christopher McFaul, told Sky News he was "delighted" by the news but added he felt "sorry for the other hostages that are still there". He also described the last 48 hours as "hell".
Stephen McFaul's son, Dylan, said: "I can't even explain the excitement. I can't wait until he gets home again." He added he would tell him "he's never going back there and I'm not letting him".
Japanese engineering firm JGC Corp said it had been able to contact three of its workers at the plant, but was unable to reach another 14.
APS said as many as 600 Algerian workers at the site managed to flee the plant, and an American military official said at least one US unarmed drone was flying over the complex.
News agency Reuters spoke to a local resident who said many people were killed in the military operation, which the Algerian government confirmed it was carrying out.
There have been conflicting reports as to the number of casualties, with Reuters citing a local source as saying six foreign hostages and eight rebels were killed.
ANI said the attackers' spokesman had claimed that Algerian forces opened fire as the militants tried to leave the energy complex with hostages.
The Algerian government said it had to act "immediately" to intervene in the crisis, according to Downing Street.
Mr Cameron's spokesman said Britain was not given prior notice of the operation, adding it was ongoing and the situation was "very grave and serious".
Mr Cameron was informed the operation was under way when he telephoned the Algerian prime minister at 11am on Wednesday, the spokesman added.
And the British PM made clear he would have preferred to be informed in advance of the military action, the spokesman went on.
The facility is run jointly by BP, the Norwegian energy firm Statoil and the Algerian state oil company.
On Wednesday a Briton and an Algerian were killed when around 20 gunmen from an al Qaeda-backed group stormed the facility.
Among the UK nationals taken hostage by the group were Scottish nationals, Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond confirmed earlier.
Al Qaeda-linked militant group Katibat Moulathamine - The Masked Ones - said it was behind the attack.
The group said it was retaliating for French military intervention against al Qaeda-backed rebels in neighbouring Mali, where France now has 1,400 troops on the ground.
BP said it was evacuating a group of workers from Algeria in light of the hostage situation at the In Amenas complex.
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what do you think?
I do not see this ending well
These terrorists must be stopped now before other innocent people are captured and held for ransome.
Why do you stick up for muslim terrorests
Have you seen the way thay treat women and girls worse than a dog
Are you takeing something i have see first hand there trratment in afganistan
As for 9/11 we have the ring leader kalledm mohamad in gitmo on trial .
WHY WOULD WE KILL OVER 3000 PEOPLE.THAT JET WHICH HIT PENTAGON WAS DEF REAL
Is Steve Farmer of this world? Someone should buy him a ticket to Afghanistan.
Steve i was at the pentagon that day and saw jet strike.AS FOR INTERNET VIDEOS ANEYONE CAN POST MAKE IT FIT THERE AGENDERS.JUST GO NEW YORK ON 9/11 AND TELL THEM THIS RUBISH SEE HOW LONG YOU LAST
steve farmers posts are the best anit drug advert i've ever seen . how bad would your life be if you actually knew this guy? " the biggest scientists in the world"? . really tall or realy fat?
terrorism is a by product of foreign countries muscling in on countries that are rich in natural resources. until that stops terrorism will always be a part of society. terrorism ironically is a cheap price to pay considering what would happen to most first world countries if prices went up.
pure rubbish . get some education, and a history lesson or 20
Ali, get back into your basket t once!
This comment has been removed for violations of our Terms and Conditions.
ali, these fools are a general representation of the wider society. i think the English people are amongst the most ignorant people on earth. and i speak as an English man brought up in a typical insular environment that was centered around the labour party ideals with a mainstream rhetoric that oozed the bbc. be afraid of other people that are not English especially the Muslims! and immigrants! polish! tsk tsk. Let your government think for you! yadder yadder. i decided to open my mind and look past it all and i found some real truth to wake up to. its been liberating and at first the truth does tick you off, but in the end sets you free. its sad i live in land so plugged into the fabric of this corrupt society and even now its exposed they still go along with it. truth is we create terrorism through our own greedy corporations. and we have the gall to wag our fingers in disapproval. and i say what i think, not what i think is popular which is more that i can say for most of the people in here. tragic really!
What complete nonsense, there is no excuse for terrorists killing people so don't try defending their actions!
don't be ridiculous. i am pointing out why terrorists exist. do you think they just grow out of the ground? i bet you do.
i have been told to learn history fair enough! but i think some people on here should go and study geography also
Mr Cameron is quoted as saying " the situation was "very grave and serious". Pre 1066 the situation was "very grave and serious". 100 years war the situation was "very grave and serious". Pre WW1 the situation was "very grave and serious". Pre WW2 the situation was "very grave and serious". Pre Vietnam the situation was "very grave and serious". Pre the Falklands the situation was "very grave and serious". Pre Iraq the situation was "very grave and serious". Pre Afghanistan the situation was "very grave and serious". Pre Armageddon the situation was "very grave and serious". Yawn, Yawn, Yawn Yawn
A very grave and serious comment fred.
Very grave indeed
What the blo**y hell do you expect a pm to say! He is only saying what every pm before him and every pm after him would say. How about a few thoughts about the hostages?
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James R McCulloch
Death means nothing to the Terrorists. It's their culture and their way of life.
David Cameron should keep his Bullington nose out .The Algerian Government doing a better job than France`s rescue a few weeks ago . Al;gerian forces have to battle with terrorists armed and encouraged.supplied by Obarma.Cameron backed Iraq. Lyibian and Syrian (rebels))).Just keep out.
Britain should prépare for the worse because the mistake inept pm and his cronies have cut the armed forces to the point that we r powerless to defend ourselves and every terrorist in the world knows it
The people (hostages) who died there were working for their families... it's sad they lost their lives whilst earning a living and that too for no fault of theirs... I wonder why it's no politician/minister/leader who gets stuck in this kind of a situation! Why is it the common man who faces the brunt! God's Curse on people who kill innocents! RIP guys!
We now know ,Cameron has been looking for an excuse NOT to give his speech on th EU exit and now he has found one. Do we not have any other Ministers who can sit and listen to the broadcasters reports on the state of the Hostages. What a sorry excuse for a leader.
Ive not wanted to comment until i felt this was over.i think they were right the algerians went in.just hope the outcome was favourable.r.i.p. to those that have died.
I agree Shaun
Sick of hearing from 'certain elements' (choosing my words carefully) about how terrorism is a result of the West. Why do these hypocrites continue to live here (please don't say they are British - they are not,) being British involves a commitment and loyalty to this country. Many of the people I am talking about are intent on destabilizing the UK whilst reaping its benefits in health, education and childcare. Come on Britain WAKE UP SMELL THE COFFEE. Mass deportation must be the answer for these troublemakers, they would not get away with it in other respected nations like Australia NZ and Singapore where citizenship is never given out to immigrants, they just have to apply every 7 years for extensions to their permits and granted depending on their usefulness and conduct - now that's a good idea!!!!
steve drivel aka nick griffin x
Ali Bongo AKA Osama bin Laden