News / USA

US Still Seeking Clarity on Algeria Situation

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta delivers a speech on the future of transatlantic relationships and the future of U.S. defense at King's College in London, England, January 18, 2013.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta delivers a speech on the future of transatlantic relationships and the future of U.S. defense at King's College in London, England, January 18, 2013.
Al Pessin
— U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States is still working to get a clear picture of the situation at a natural gas facility in Algeria, which Algerian forces attacked on Thursday after militants had taken dozens of foreigners and hundreds of Algerians hostage.  

Nearly 24 hours after Algerian forces launched their assault on the joint Algerian-British-Norwegian facility, senior foreign officials did not know its outcome, or the fate of their citizens who had been taken hostage.

During a previously scheduled speech at London’s King’s College Friday, Secretary Panetta said he had just received an update and still needed more information.

“We are continuing to work very closely with the British government and with other nations in order to assess precisely what is happening on the ground," said Panetta. "We are working around the clock to ensure the safe return of our citizens. And we will continue to be in close consultation with the Algerian government.”

After his speech, Panetta held an unscheduled 45-minute meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, which officials described as an in-depth discussion of Algeria, Mali and other issues.

This October 8, 2012 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the Amenas Gas Field in Algeria, which is jointly operated by BP and Norway's Statoil and Algeria's Sonatrach.This October 8, 2012 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the Amenas Gas Field in Algeria, which is jointly operated by BP and Norway's Statoil and Algeria's Sonatrach.
x
This October 8, 2012 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the Amenas Gas Field in Algeria, which is jointly operated by BP and Norway's Statoil and Algeria's Sonatrach.
This October 8, 2012 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the Amenas Gas Field in Algeria, which is jointly operated by BP and Norway's Statoil and Algeria's Sonatrach.
Reports indicate some hostages and some terrorists were killed in the Algerian assault, and some hostages were freed. But Prime Minister Cameron also seemed somewhat frustrated during a statement in Parliament Friday, saying he had not been informed of the operation in advance and was not able to give a full accounting of the British citizens at the facility.

“Last night, the number of British citizens at risk was less than thirty. Thankfully, we now know that number has been quite significantly reduced," said Cameron. "And I’m sure the House will understand why during an ongoing operation I cannot say more on this at this stage.”

Mr. Cameron indicated Algerian forces were still trying to gain full control of the gas facility. He also said security is being tightened at other such installations in the region.

The militants said they attacked the Algerian complex in retaliation for the French military action against Islamist rebels in neighboring Mali, and the militants have threatened more such attacks against Western targets. The Algeria hostage-takers are affiliated with the Mali rebels under the umbrella organization Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.  
 
Secretary Panetta condemned the hostage-taking, and said there can be “no justification” for kidnapping and murdering innocent people.

“Terrorists should be on notice that they will find no sanctuary, no refuge, not in Algeria, not in North Africa, not anywhere," he said. "Those who would wantonly attack our country and our people will have no place to hide.”

In Friday’s speech, Panetta urged U.S. allies not to allow financial concerns to reduce their commitment to keep what he called “relentless pressure” on terrorism in Mali, Algeria and around the world.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid