41 foreigners seized in Algeria attack

Updated 16 January 2013
0

41 foreigners seized in Algeria attack

ALGIERS: Militants attacked a gas field in Algeria yesterday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 foreigners including seven Americans in a dawn raid, according to regional media reports.
The raid, claimed by an Al-Qaeda affiliate, came after militants had vowed to retaliate for France's military intervention in Mali, where its forces have been in action against Al-Qaeda-linked militants since last week.
The incident also raised fears that the French action could prompt further revenge attacks on Western targets in Africa, where Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb operates across borders in the Sahara desert, and in Europe.
The Al-Qaeda group said it had carried out yesterday's raid on the In Amenas facility in Algeria, Mauritania's ANI news agency reported.
The gas field, located close to the border with Libya, is operated by a joint venture including BP, Norwegian oil firm Statoil and Algerian state company Sonatrach.
A French national was killed in the attack, a local source said, but it was unclear if the victim was one of those kidnapped.
Algeria's official APS news agency said that one security guard had been killed and seven people were injured including two foreigners.
Five Japanese nationals working for the Japanese engineering firm JCG Corp were kidnapped as well as a French national, local officials said. An Irishman was also seized, the Irish government said, while a diplomatic source said an American had been kidnapped.
Also kidnapped was a Norwegian gas worker, the newspaper Bergens Tidende said, quoting the man's wife.
"I received a phone call from my husband this morning and he said he was kidnapped," the woman said. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry could not confirm the report.
The foreigners were taken from In Amenas in the morning. Algerian troops had mounted an operation to rescue the hostages and had also surrounded the workers' camp at Tiguentourine, a local source said. A French source said that the raiders had come from Libya.
Algeria has allowed France to use its air space during its military intervention against Al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Mali, although officials have yet to make a link between yesterday's attack and the conflict in Algeria's southern neighbor.
ANI, which has regular direct contact with rebels, said that fighters under the command of Mokhtar Belmokhtar were holding the foreigners seized from the gas field.


Iran detains ex-prosecutor convicted in 2009 torture case

Updated 4 min 44 sec ago
0

Iran detains ex-prosecutor convicted in 2009 torture case

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s official judicial news agency is reporting that police have arrested a former Tehran prosecutor who faces a two-year prison sentence over the death of prisoners following the country’s 2009 protests.
The website of the Mizan news agency said Sunday that Saeed Mortazavi had been arrested, without elaborating.
Mortazavi was sentenced to prison by an appeals court in December. That court found him indirectly responsible for the torture deaths of protesters following former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009.
Since that court decision, Mortazavi apparently couldn’t be found by authorities.
Last week, a judicial spokesman suggested publicly that Mortazavi was missing. The former prosecutor’s wife and lawyer, however, said he was only looking to appeal the ruling.
His lawyer could not be immediately reached Sunday.