Algerian death toll passes 80
As the army sifts through the rubble, they are finding more and more bodies of hostages. The current death toll stands at 57 hostages and 32 terrorists with the army still combing the complex looking for additional bodies.
Much remains unclear about events after the jihadists staged the attack last Wednesday. However, an Algerian newspaper said they had arrived in cars painted in the colours of state energy company Sonatrach but registered in neighbouring Libya, a country awash with arms since Muammar Gadafy's fall in 2011.
The Algerian security source told Reuters that documents found on the bodies of the two militants had identified them as Canadians, as special forces scoured the plant following Saturday's bloody end to the crisis.
Veteran Islamist fighter Mokhtar Belmokhtar claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of al Qaeda, and an official Algerian source has said the militants included people from outside the African continent, as well as Arabs and Africans.
A security source said on Sunday that Algerian troops had found the bodies of 25 hostages, raising the number of hostages killed to 48 and the total number of deaths to at least 80. He said six militants were captured alive and troops were still searching for others.
A Japanese government source said the Algerian government had informed Tokyo that nine Japanese had been killed, the biggest toll so far among foreigners at the plant. Six Filipinos died and four were wounded, a government spokesman in Manila said.
The raid has exposed the vulnerability of multinational-run oil and gas installations in an important producing region and pushed the growing threat from Islamist militant groups in the Sahara to a prominent position in the West's security agenda.
Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika has ordered an investigation into how security forces failed to prevent the attack, the daily El Khabar said. The militants had used nine cars in Sonatrach colours and all with Libyan registration plates, it quoted unnamed security sources as saying.
Western governments have muted their criticism of the Algerians for their aggressive tactics in launching a military strike on Thursday. Many of the hostages, including the nine Japanese, were executed before the army began their attacks.
But in reality, there wasn't much the army could have done. With so many hostages, and the terrorists spread out over the gas complex, a military response was probably going to be the best option anyway.