41 foreigners seized in Algeria attack



REUTERS

Published — Thursday 17 January 2013

Last update 16 January 2013 11:33 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

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.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A number of parents have complained about the lack of hygiene in schools, expressing fears about the potential spread of the MERS virus with the beginning of the new academic year. This comes in the backdrop of another death due to the deadly...
JEDDAH: Disputes over sharing of property or inheriting family business are common. But Dhahran has witnessed an unusual fight among four brothers — over donating kidney to their youngest brother.Coincidentally, all the brothers were found fit to don...
JEDDAH: A number of visually impaired citizens are expecting candidates to address their problems and make life easier for them after winning the Dec. 12 municipal elections.A section of these voters have also sought special programs so that they can...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Interior recently launched a series of training programs to upgrade the efficiency of its female staff as a new step to empower women and give them an opportunity to shine in security-related fields.Maha Frehi, the manager of...
RIYADH: Sixty-one Filipinos, who met with a vehicular accident on the day of Arafat on Nov. 5, 2011, hope to come to the Kingdom as the guests of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.Most of them could not complete the Haj rituals because of...
JEDDAH: At the start of each academic year, parents face a common and expected problem — their children are afraid of going to school.After spending five years in the arms of their mothers and siblings, children know leaving home means entering a new...

Stay Connected

Facebook