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Posts Tagged ‘Algeria’

Mokhtar Belmokhtar Releases Video Claiming Responsibility for Algeria Siege

In Algeria, Algeria Hostage Crisis, News on January 22, 2013 at 1:33 AM



A video has been posted on the internet apparently showing militant leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar claiming responsibility for a deadly hostage crisis at an Algerian gas plant.

On Monday, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal confirmed that 37 foreigners of eight nationalities and one Algerian worker were killed.

The video explicitly links the siege to an ongoing French military operation in neighbouring Mali.

Algerian PM: 37 Foreigners Killed in Hostage Situation

In Algeria, Algeria Hostage Crisis on January 22, 2013 at 1:26 AM



Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal has announced that 37 foreigners of eight nationalities have been killed in the hostage crisis at an In Amenas gas plant. Seven people are still missing.

The hostage takers included kidnappers from Egypt, Canada, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, and Tunisia, Sellal said in a statement.

“A Canadian was among the militants. He was coordinating the attack,” Sellal said. The Canadian’s name was given only as Chedad.

A former driver at the gas complex was also among the hostage takers.

Twenty-nine militants were killed when Algerian forces stormed the site on Saturday. Three kidnappers were captured.

A US official says two more Americans were killed in the crisis, bringing the death toll to three US citizens.

“It was very difficult to control the situation…they had a massive arsenal, and had explosive belts which they put on some foreigners,” he said.

Sellal said the jihadists who staged the attack had crossed into the country from neighboring Libya.

Japan’s Prime Minister said on Monday that seven Japanese citizens died in the hostage crisis. Three others are still missing.

“I was informed by Vice-Foreign Minister (Minoru) Kiuchi that as a result of identifications of bodies at a hospital in In Amenas, seven were confirmed to be Japanese employees of JGC,” Mr Shinzo Abe told his ministers, as reported by AFP.

Five Norwegians, three Britons, four Filipinos, and two Malaysians are among the missing.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that 22 British nationals who escaped or were freed in Algeria have been reunited with their families in the UK.

The Islamist ‘Mulathameen Brigade’ has claimed responsibility for the hostage crisis. The group issued a statement warning that it will carry out similar attacks until Western powers end what they called an attack on Muslims in Mali, Reuters reported on Monday.

“We promise all the countries that participated in the Crusader campaign against the Azawad region that we will carry out more operations if they do not reverse their decision,” the statement said.

Militants seized the In Amenas natural gas installation in the Algerian Sahara on Wednesday. The group said it conducted the raid in retaliation for France’s engagement in the Mali crisis.

The militants also demanded the release of two terrorists held in the US in return for the hostages. One of the terrorists, Omar Abdel-Rahman, known as ‘The Blind Sheikh,’ helped in 1993 to plan the 9/11 attacks.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has ordered an investigation into how security forces failed to prevent the attack, El Khabar newspaper reported.

Via RT

Algeria Hostage Crisis Over, All Remaining Foreign Hostages & Militants Dead

In Algeria, Algeria Hostage Crisis, News on January 20, 2013 at 5:26 AM



A lethal four-day siege of the Algerian natural-gas plant has left 23 hostages and 32 militants dead. Terrorists executed the last seven foreign hostages during a ‘final assault’ by Algerian troops on Saturday.

­After the assault was over the military began clearing the plant of mines, an Algeria based journalist told RT. “The terrorists placed some bombs around the area,” he said. “Landmines were set within the gas facility and within the compound.”

The militants were trying to use hostages as human shields and also “put bombs” on their necks, journalist added, describing the terrorists as a highly-trained group armed with “very sophisticated weapons like rocket launchers and also heavy machine guns” which they allegedly brought from Libya.

“They entered through the border because this area is only 60 kilometers from the Libyan border,” journalist told RT.

So far, Algerian authorities have not announced the nationality of the 23 hostage victims, while the Interior Ministry warned that the death toll was still provisional and could rise.

The militant group behind the attack, ‘The Battalion of Blood,’ initially said that the hostages were from Great Britain, Japan, the US and Norway, the Mauritanian news agency Akhbar reported citing the militants’ commander.

Before the final assault militants warned that they had mined the facility where the hostages were being held, and threatened to blow it up if another rescue was attempted. They also threatened to kill the captives if their demands were not met.

Algerian Special Forces found 15 burned bodies at the gas plant on Saturday, the likely victims of a retaliation for an operation to free dozens of foreign and Algerian workers, Reuters said, citing a source familiar with the situation. An investigation is underway to identify the bodies. The circumstances of their death also remain unclear.

Malian militants seized the In Amenas natural gas installation in the Algerian Sahara on Wednesday, taking hundreds of hostages, including scores of foreigners. The militant group said it conducted the raid in retaliation for France’s engagement in the Mali crisis.

The militants also demanded the release of two terrorists held in the US in return for the hostages. One of the terrorists, Omar Abdel-Rahman, known as ‘The Blind Sheikh,’ played a role in the planning of the 9/11 attacks in 1993.

On Saturday, details emerged on the identity of the commanders of the militant group that had been holding the hostages since Wednesday. One of the group’s leaders, a veteran fighter from Niger called Abdul Rahman al-Nigeri, headed a group of militants who were killed during the final assault. The other group’s leader, Abu al-Bara’a al-Jaza’iri, was reportedly killed earlier by the Algerian army at the gas field’s residential complex. Reports also suggested that the head commander of the kidnappers, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who is linked to a regional Al-Qaeda group, was not at the plant during the militants’ assault.

There were conflicting reports of foreign and Algerian hostage casualties during the government army’s three-day rescue operation. On Friday, state media said that at least 12 hostages were killed during the rescue operation. However, it was reported earlier that 30 hostages have died.

Algerian news outlet APS said that nearly 650 hostages have been freed, including 573 Algerians and 100 of the 132 foreigners being held.

On Saturday, 16 foreign hostages, including two Americans, two Germans and one Portuguese national, were reportedly freed in Algeria, Reuters said, citing to a local source. However, details on when or where the hostages were freed remain unknown.

Militants are believed to still be in control of the gas plant, while the residential premises housing hundreds of workers were recaptured by government forces in the rescue operation, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.

A massive fire was witnessed at the huge plant late Friday, where many of the missing hostages are still believed to be held, Al Arabiya reported.

At least one US national was killed in the standoff, but it is unclear how he died. The body recovered Friday was identified as Frederick Buttaccio of Texas, the US State Department confirmed.

The hostages remain vulnerable at the facility, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged, without confirming any American deaths or announcing a death toll. “I want to underscore again that the utmost care must be taken to preserve innocent life,” she said, adding that Washington is in close contact with Algerian officials.

As far as Paris is aware, there are no more French hostages being held in the Algerian gas complex, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated on Saturday.

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius meanwhile acknowledged that one French hostage was killed during the rescue attempt, while three others were saved.

And Norwegian firm Statoil revealed Saturday that two more of its workers had been freed and moved to safety, leaving six unaccounted for. There are no details as to how the two managed to escape.

A number of countries, including the UK and Japan, have expressed their dissatisfaction over how the hostage situation has been handled. They take issue with the fact the rescue operation was ordered without consultation and resulted in hostage casualties.

The UK government’s emergency committee COBRA will hold a meeting on the hostage crisis on Saturday chaired by Foreign Secretary William Hague. The hostages will “remain top priority until every British national [is] accounted for,” Hague wrote on Twitter prior to the meeting.

There are “fewer than 10” UK citizens remaining “at risk” and the “large majority” are now “safe and accounted for,” Foreign Secretary Hague said in the interview shortly after news broke that the raid had ended.

The US State Department issued a travel warning on Friday advising Americans against traveling to the west African country. US officials are concerned of possible further attacks and kidnappings by the militants. There is also a possibility of food shortages in the war-ravaged country.

Via RT

Algeria Hostage Crisis (LIVE UPDATES)

In Algeria, Algeria Hostage Crisis, News on January 17, 2013 at 8:11 AM

“Mali” Islamists Kill 3, Take 41 Hostage in Algeria



Islamists claiming to come from Mali killed three foreigners and are holding 41 more hostage after a raid on a compound near an Algerian gas field. The attack is reportedly in retaliation to the ongoing French military campaign in Mali.

A group of several dozen heavily armed Islamic militants have reportedly repelled an attempt by the Algerian army to raid the facility where the hostages are being held. The soldiers were forced to retreat after an exchange of fire, Mauritania’s ANI news agency reported citing a source in the al Qaeda-affiliated group.

The source added that besides light weapons the militants are armed with mortars and anti-aircraft missiles.

The terrorist group using three vehicles launched an early morning attack against a base owned by Sontrach, the Algerian national oil company.

A Briton and an Algerian security guard were killed and seven people were injured in the assault, including two foreigners, Algeria’s official APS news agency said. A French national was also killed in the attack, Reuters cites a local source as saying.

The Foreign Office in London said it could not confirm that a Briton had been killed, only that “British Nationals ”were caught up in an “ongoing terrorist incident.”

“Forty-one westerners including seven Americans, French, British and Japanese citizens have been taken hostage,” a spokesman for the Islamists told the Mauritanian News Agency and Sahara Media.

He said some of the hostages were being held at the gas plant, while the others were in a nearby housing complex.

Thirteen Norwegian employees working for the energy company Statoil have also been taken hostage inside the natural gas facility, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference on Wednesday.

“We’ve asked the Algerian authorities to put the life and health of the hostages above all,” Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide told reporters.

Algerian security forces have surrounded the kidnappers, a security official based in the region told AP. He confirmed that the militants had come from Mali, though he spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The Algerian Press Service (APS) reports that the Algerians taken hostage have been set free.

“The kidnappers are demanding the release of 100 terrorists being held in Algeria, in exchange for their hostages,” a worker at the gas complex told AFP by telephone.

“(They) have demanded that these (detained) Islamists be taken to northern Mali,”  the source added.

Algerian authorities have ruled out negotiating with the Islamist fighters, however, leaving the fate of the foreign hostages in doubt.

“The Algerian authorities will not respond to the demands of the terrorists and will not negotiate,” Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia was quoted by state news agency APS.

The United States confirmed on Wednesday that US citizens were among the hostages.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned Algeria’s prime minister to discuss the incident, though a State Department spokeswoman would not give any further details as they continue in their efforts to “secure these people.”

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has said the US “will take all necessary and proper steps” to deal with what he described as a “terrorist attack.” Panetta did not outline what concrete actions the United States would take to deal with the hostage crisis.

An al-Qaeda affiliated group said the raid was executed in retaliation to Algeria’s decision to allow France to use its airspace to launch airstrikes against militants in Mila, where French forces have been targeting Islamists fighters since last week.

A spokesman for the group called Algeria’s attitude “a betrayal for the blood of Algerian martyrs slain by the French colonists.”

The group further said to ensure the safety of the kidnapped hostages in Algeria, the French attack on Northern Mali must end, Reuters reports.

On Wednesday French troops launched their first ground operation against Islamist rebels following six days of airstrikes.

French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday French forces would remain in Mali until stability was returned to the conflict-torn West African state.

Via RT

Algeria Hostages Made to Wear Explosive Belts



FRANCE 24 has spoken to a French national who says he is one of the 150 hostages at the gas facility in southeast Algeria. The hostage said that they have been forced to wear explosive belts and that this militants are “heavily armed”.

FRANCE 24 spoke to one of the hostages at the BP-Statoil-Sonatrach gas plant in eastern Algeria on Wednesday, the site of a deadly pre-dawn raid in which over 150 Algerians and around 40 Western foreigners were taken by Islamist militants.

French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said Thursday that Paris could not yet confirm the presence of French nationals among those taken captive, but Socialist MP Bruno Le Roux told French radio there were “surely” some French among the group.

The man, who declined to be identified by name, told FRANCE 24 that there were British, Japanese, Philippine and Malaysian nationals among the hostages.

He said the militants simultaneously stormed the gas plant as well as the workers’ living quarters. “They came in and once there was daylight, grouped us all together.”

He said the attackers were heavily armed and forced several hostages to wear explosives belts. They threatened to blow up the gas field if Algerian forces attempted to enter the site.

FRANCE 24 could not verify if the testimony was made under duress.

Via France24

Algeria: 45 Taken Hostage by “Battalion of Blood” Escape, Dozens Remain Captive



45 hostages, including several foreigners, have managed to escape the Sahara Desert gas facility where they were being held by Islamist militants. Dozens of people remain captive, some of whom were reportedly forced to put on explosive belts.

­A group of Islamists calling themselves the ‘Battalion of Blood’ raided a compound near an Algerian gas field on Wednesday, taking dozens hostages.

They also killed a British citizen and an Algerian in an assault on a bus.

The Islamists were reportedly Malian nationals, and are demanding that French forces cease their bombardment of Mali and withdraw from the country. They have also called on the Algerian government to allow them safe passage from the facility, an unnamed official security source told Reuters.

“Battalion of Blood” Threaten to Kill All Hostages if Algeria Tries to Free Them by Force



The “battalion of Blood” has threatened to kill all hostages  if the Algerian army tries to storm the place and free the hostages by force.

The group reported that Algerian troops began to crack down on them, shooting at them, in an apparent attempt to storm the place and try to free the hostages, and added, “We will kill all the hostages if Algerian troops tried to storm the place.”

Via ANI News

Algerian Helicopters Attack Gas Plant, 2 Hostages Injured



Algerian helicopters have attacked a group of Mali militants held up in a Saharan gas facility, injuring two Japanese hostages, ANI news reports. The army moved in after 50 captives, including dozens of foreigners, escaped from the militants.

35 Hostages and 15 Captors Killed by Algerian Airstrike



A spokesman for the “Battalion of Blood” says that 35 hostages and 15 captors were killed after Algerian aircraft bombed their place of detention.

One of the kidnappers at the Algerian gas installation  told Mauritania’s ANI news agency about the government airstrikes and resulting causalities, though the information has not been independently confirmed.

Via ANI News

7 Western Hostages Left Alive



The agency says the remaining hostages are two Americans, three Belgians, one Japanese and one British citizen.

The leader of the militant group, Abu al-Baraa, was also reportedly killed in the government assault.

Via ANI News

Algerian Army Storms Plant



“Battalion of Blood” spokesman reports the Algerian army has begun the operation to storm the compound where the remaining 7 Western hostages are being held.

Heavy shelling could be heard behind the spokeman’s voice, as Algerian fighters backed by units on the ground began to try to break into the compound.

“Battalion of Blood” once again threatened to kill all remaining hostages if the troops entered the compound.

Via ANI News

ANI Loses Contact with “Battalion of Blood” Spokesman



Telephone communications were cut off shortly after the Algerian army began storming the site.

Via ANI News

US Drone Arrives Over Algerian Gas Plant



An unarmed Predator drone has flown over the BP plant where the hostages are being held to gather intelligence on the site, a U.S. official said Thursday.

Algerian State News Agency APS Quotes Official Saying Military Operation is Over


Worker at In Amenas gas facility tells Le Monde newspaper one of the militants spoke English with a perfect accent. The militants knew the complex well and were apparently of various nationalities: Egyptian, Tunisian, Algerian and one from Mali or Nigeria. When the armed forces attacked, Algerian hostages panicked and fled in their hundreds, he says.

The major military operation may be over, but the UK government has been told the plant is still being searched. It is feared that as yet unconfirmed reports of as many as 35 dead of many nationalities will prove to be correct.

Unconfirmed report by Algerian TV says four people were killed and 13 people wounded. Earlier, the hostage-takers told ANI news agency in Mauritania that 35 foreigners died.

OpWCIT: Russia, China & Others Re-Submit Internet Regulations Proposal

In Big Brother, China, News, NWO, OpWCIT, Other Leaks, Police State, Science & Technology on December 12, 2012 at 4:14 PM


Russia, China, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Sudan have re-submitted their proposal at for a government controlled internet at the WCIT conference, only a day after they withdrew it.

Related Link: OpWCIT: Russia, China & Others Withdraw Internet Regulation Push after Proposal is Leaked Online

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