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Algeria: 80 Dead at Gas Complex



Algeria's prime minister is expected to announce Monday the latest details of the militant takeover and military raid of a desert natural gas complex that left at least 80 people dead, including militants.

The toll jumped Sunday when officials combing through the complex found 25 more bodies, which they said were so disfigured it is hard to tell if the remains were of militants or hostages.

Officials in the Philippines said Monday that six of the victims were Filipinos, and that four of its nationals remain missing.

Many of the dead were foreign hostages held when Islamist militants seized the In Amenas gas complex Wednesday. So far, nationals from Britain, Romania, the United States, Japan and France have also been confirmed dead.

Islamist militant leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar claimed responsibility for the attack. In an Internet video posted Sunday, he said he was acting in the name of al-Qaida and that 40 militants from Muslim and Western nations carried out the raid.



Belmokhtar said the attack was an answer to the French military operation against other al-Qaida-linked militants in Mali.

Algerian forces captured five militants alive during a Saturday raid on the complex. Algeria's official news agency said the militants killed seven hostages during the raid, while Algerian troops killed 11 of the kidnappers.

A number of militants and hostages were also killed earlier during the crisis, while other hostages escaped unharmed.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday that responsibility for the killings "lies squarely" with what he called the "terrorists who launched this vicious and cowardly attack." French President Francois Hollande welcomed what he described as Algeria's "most appropriate" response to "coldly determined terrorists."

Algerian Communications Minister Mohamed Said said the Islamist assailants came from six nations. He said Algerian experts are tying to clear away land mines the militants laid around the gas complex.

Nearly 700 Algerian workers and more than 100 foreigners escaped the militant attack last week.

The foreign hostages included Americans, Austrians, Belgians, Britons, Colombians, French, Japanese, Malaysians, Norwegians and Romanians. The complex is jointly run by Algerian, British and Norwegian firms.

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