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Official: Americans escape Algerian standoff

3:12 AM, Jan 18, 2013   |    comments
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ALGIERS, Algeria -- More details are finally emerging about the government raid to rescue foreign nationals at a BP-operated natural gas plant in Algeria.

A U.S. official says some Americans escaped, but other Americans remain either held or unaccounted for. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The U.S. government had sent an unmanned surveillance drone to the site, near the border with Libya and 800 miles from the Algerian capital, but it could do little more than watch the operation. Algeria's army-dominated government shrugged aside foreign offers of help and drove ahead alone.

Six and possibly more people were killed. The victims are said to be Filipinos, Britons and Algerians. The dozens more still unaccounted for include Americans, Britons, French, Norwegians, Romanians, Malaysians, Japanese, Algerians and the fighters themselves.

The militants, an al-Qaida offshoot, are claiming 35 captives were killed. They also say they launched the raid in support of Islamists battling government forces in Mali, which are being supported by France.

(Associated Press)

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