Algeria: 32 militants killed, with 23 hostages
By PAUL SCHEMM and KARIM KEBIR January 19, 2013 2:06PM
Unidentified rescued hostages pose for the media in Ain Amenas, Algeria, in this image taken from television Friday Jan. 18, 2013. Algerias state news service says nearly 100 out of 132 foreign hostages have been freed from a gas plant where Islamist militants had held them captive for three days. The APS news agency report was an unexpected indication of both more hostages than had previously been reported and a potentially breakthrough development in what has been a bloody siege. (AP Photo/Canal Algerie via Associated Press TV) ** TV OUT ALGERIA OUT **
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — The Algerian government says 32 militants and 23 captives were killed during the three-day military operation to end the hostage crisis at a natural gas plant in the Sahara.
The provisional death toll was issued by the Interior Ministry on Saturday after the special forces operation crushed the last holdout of the militants at the gas refinery, resulting in 11 extremists killed along with seven hostages.
A total of 685 Algerian and 107 foreigner workers were freed over the course of the standoff, which began on Wednesday, the statement added.
The military also confiscated machine guns, rocket launchers, missiles and grenades attached to suicide belts.
The ministry added that the militants involved consisted of 32 men of various nationalities, including three Algerians.