Algeria: 5 missing foreigners maybe in the desert

Associated Press
A truck loaded with empty coffins waits at the main entrance of the hospital where the bodies of persons killed during the hostage situation in a gas plant are gathered in Ain Amenas, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. At least 81 people have been reported dead, including 32 Islamist militants, after a bloody, four-day hostage situation at Algeria's remote Ain Amenas natural gas plant. (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)
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A truck loaded with empty coffins waits at the main entrance of the hospital where the bodies of persons …

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Algerian official says the search is on for the five foreigners unaccounted for from the terrorist attack on the remote natural gas site, who may be lost in the vast Sahara desert.

The official, a member of Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal's office, said Tuesday the missing foreigners may have tried to escape into the desert and got lost.

An al-Qaida-affiliated band of fighters attacked the vast natural gas complex on Jan. 16 and 37 hostages, including an Algerian security guard, died in the four day standoff.

Many foreigners escaped from the site during the attack and were found by the army wandering through the desert, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

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