News / Middle East

Panetta Vows 'Proper' Response to Algeria Hostage-Taking

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks during a news conference with Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo di Paola, not pictured, at the Ministry of Defense in Rome, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks during a news conference with Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo di Paola, not pictured, at the Ministry of Defense in Rome, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.
x
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks during a news conference with Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo di Paola, not pictured, at the Ministry of Defense in Rome, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks during a news conference with Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo di Paola, not pictured, at the Ministry of Defense in Rome, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.
Al Pessin
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has condemned the taking of as many as 41 foreign hostages at a natural gas facility in Algeria, a move apparently linked to the French military operation in neighboring Mali. 
 
Secretary Panetta says the United States will take “all necessary and proper steps” in response to the hostage crisis at the facility, run by British, Norwegian and Algerian companies.
 
“The United States strongly condemns these kinds of terrorist acts. It is a very serious matter when Americans are taken hostage, along with others," he said. 
 
Speaking in Rome, Panetta said he did not know how many Americans are among the hostages. 
 
But a spokesman for the al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb militant group told VOA there are seven American hostages, and that the United States will “face the consequences” if it tries to help France in its military operation against the group in Mali.
 
Secretary Panetta previously said the United States will not send ground troops, but will provide intelligence, logistics and transportation support to the French forces in Mali. On Wednesday he said the assistance plan is under legal review but he is confident it will be approved based on laws authorizing the war on terrorism. 
 
“I do know that terrorists are terrorists, and terrorists take these kinds of actions not just in Algeria, they take them elsewhere ... and we have witnessed their behavior in a number of occasions where they have total disregard for innocent men and women. And this appears to be that kind of situation," he said. 
 
Al-Qaida expert Alia Brahimi of the London School of Economics said Wednesday the Islamic Maghreb group and others in North Africa have changed their goals over the past year, moving away from a focus on local and regional issues.
 
“There is a common consciousness emerging now in Africa among militant groups - in Somalia, in Nigeria, in Algeria - who were once obsessively localized, who are increasingly buying into the notion of global jihad, and who feel that they can reinvent their past record of failure and infighting by actually becoming more faithful affiliates of the al-Qaida brand and are focusing on attacking the West," she said. 
 
Brahimi says the al-Qaida move to take over all of Mali, which sparked the French action, would have created a base of operations from which more attacks on the West would have been planned.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Michael Rivero from: Honolulu, HI
January 16, 2013 8:00 PM
I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the group of "Al Qaeda" (nudge nudge wink wink) are either CIA or Mossad creating a pretext for the US to invade another oil rich nation and force it back onto the dollar.

by: David E. Connolly, Jr. from: New Orleans
January 16, 2013 7:28 PM
The moment we get involved in Africa all hell breaks loose. Remember what happened the last time we got ourselves mired in French military affairs; that was called Vietnam, in case anyone forgot. The African continent is best left to the Africans, and if you don't believe that just meditate upon our last foray into Somalia. We are not yet free from the last set of unfortunate military choices yet and we’ve invented a new reason to fight on a different continent. A religious philosophy cannot be fought with guns and bombs.

by: IrateNate from: US of A
January 16, 2013 6:56 PM
So, Lou, we've solved that silly misunderstanding over that whole Benghazi thing, have we?

by: Ron from: Nixa, Mo
January 16, 2013 6:51 PM
same response as after 9-11-12 at our embassy? nothing

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs