Army raid kills 11 kidnappers in Algeria

At least Seven foreign hostages and 11 kidnappers have been killed after Algerian military forces launched another hostage rescue raid on the desert gas filed controlled by armed assailants in eastern Algeria.

“The (army) assault took place mid-morning. Eleven terrorists lost their lives along with the foreign hostages,” a security source said Saturday.

“The Algerian army took out 11 terrorists, and the terrorist group killed seven foreign hostages,” Algerian state TV said.

Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta confirmed that a Romanian national was killed and another one injured in the recent incident, while the nationality of the others have not been confirmed so far.

Earlier in the day, the hostage takers said they were still holding seven foreign national hostages at In Amenas gas field located in eastern Algeria, near the Libyan border.

On January 16, the militants, known as the Signed-in-Blood Battalion, conducted an attack on a gas complex partly run by the oil giant British Petroleum (BP) in eastern Algeria, killing a French national and a British citizen and kidnapping several other gas workers.

The armed assailants, linked to the rebel forces fighting in neighboring Mali, said they have carried out the attack to avenge Algeria’s support for the French-led military operation in Mali.

A day later, Algerian army forces launched its first rescue raid to save the hostages seized by militants, killing some 30 people, including 12 captives and 18 kidnappers. However, the operation turned out to be a failure.

Algeria has authorized French warplanes to employ its airspace for launching airstrikes on the northern parts of the West African country controlled by rebel forces.

France launched a military intervention in Mali under the pretext of halting the advance of militants in the African country on January 11.

MKA/HGH