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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More