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BREAKING NEWS: Algeria hostage-takers still holed up in gas field

ALGIERS -- Some Islamist hostage-takers were still holed up at a remote gas field in Algeria Friday, a security official said, adding that their claim of dozens of people killed in an army rescue bid was "fantasy."

"There is still a group holed up" at the In Amenas gas production complex in the southeastern desert, the source said by telephone, adding that it was "difficult to discuss an ongoing operation."

The person condemned the Mauritanian news agency ANI, to which the Islamists gave their account of events Thursday, claiming 34 captives and 14 hostage-takers had been killed.

"The terrorists made contact with ANI to give them this exclusive report, from which we got this fantasy toll," the official said.

Communications Minister Mohamed Said said late Thursday that the assault launched by Algerian special forces left "some" of the hostages dead and wounded, but freed a "large number."

A lack of concrete information over what the UK called a "terrorist incident" at the In Amenas field, operated by BP, has frayed nerves in Tokyo and other world capitals eager for news of the fate of dozens of hostages still unaccounted for.

The Houston Chronicle has reported that among the hostages still alive include a Houston engineer, 57, who had worked for a local engineering and consulting firm. Hostage' s brother told the newspaper, "I' ve been told they are doing everything they can to free him."

Dow Jones Newswires

01/18/2013

 

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