Hostage death toll climbing in Algerian terrorist attack
A private TV station in Algeria believed to have good sources in the military announced that another 25 bodies had been discovered in the vast gas complex and that it was probable that the death toll would climb.
Twenty-five bodies have been discovered by Algeria's army in the gas facility that was the scene of a bloody four-day hostage standoff in the desert, private Algerian television station Ennahar said on Sunday, adding that the operation to clear the base would last 48 hours.
The bodies are believed to belong to hostages executed by the militants, said Ennahar TV, which is known to have good sources within Algerian security.
Algeria's state news service said Sunday that de-mining teams were going through the gas refinery, searching for explosive traps left by the Islamic militants who took dozens of foreign prisoners.
On Saturday, Algerian special forces stormed the natural gas complex in the Sahara desert, ending the siege that left at least 23 hostages dead and killed 32 of the militants involved, the Algerian government said.
With few details emerging from the remote Ain Amenas site in eastern Algeria, it was unclear whether anyone was rescued in the final operation, but the number of hostages killed on Saturday - seven - was how many the militants had said they still had. The government described the toll as provisional, and some foreigners remain unaccounted for.
The Algerian government said Saturday that the militants killed in the assault on the desert gas plant were from six different nationalities. The official APS news agency cited Communications Minister Mohammed Said as saying they were from Arab, African and non-African countries, without providing further details.
Given that at least some of the hostages were executed prior to the final assault by the Algerian military, it would seem that the terrorists left the Algerian government with much of a choice.
British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that the battle against Islamists in Western Africa will last years and perhaps even decades. It is an area vital to Europe's energy security and it is likely that France will begin to receive more backing for its intervention in Mali.