Algeria: Nearly 100 of 132 foreign hostages freed

Associated Press
FILE - This is a  April 19, 2005 fiel photo released by Statoil via NTB scanpix, shows the Ain Amenas gas field in Algeria, where Islamist militants raided and took hostages Wednesday Jan. 16, 2013. British Prime Minister David Cameron said Algerian forces are “still pursuing terrorists” and looking for hostages at an oil installation in the Sahara desert.  Cameron told lawmakers Friday Jan. 18, 2013 that Algerian troops were still engaged in an operation to secure a “large and complex site.”  (AP Photo/Kjetil Alsvik, Statoil via NTB scanpix, File) NORWAY OUT
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ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria's state news service says nearly 100 out of the 132 foreign hostages kidnapped by Islamist militants have been freed from a gas plant in the Sahara desert.

The report by APS indicated a potential breakthrough in a bloody siege that began when militants seized the plant early Wednesday and reflected a significant jump in the number of foreign hostages involved.

The Friday report from the government news agency, citing a security official, did not mention any casualties in the battles between Algerian forces and the militants. But earlier it had said that 18 militants had been killed.

It was not clear whether the remaining foreigners were still captive or had been killed in the Algerian military operation to free them that began Thursday.

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