US wants 'clarity' about Algeria hostages

2013-01-17 20:37

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Washington - The United States is seeking "clarity" about reports American hostages may have been killed in an Algerian military raid on a gas field seized by Islamists, US officials said on Thursday.

"We are certainly concerned about reports of loss of life. And are seeking clarity from the government of Algeria," White House spokesperson Jay Carney said.

According to a spokesperson for the kidnappers, Algerian troops launched an air and ground assault on Thursday on the gas complex besieged by Islamists, killing nearly 50 people, most of them hostages.

Britain, France and Norway confirmed an operation was under way at the remote desert site near the Libyan border, attacked Wednesday in retaliation for a week-old military campaign against Islamist rebels in neighbouring Mali.

But US officials refused to get into any details. "The situation is extremely fluid on the ground," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.

"We are working with the government of Algeria. We're working with other affected nations to try to resolve this situation."

But she refused to confirm how many Americans were among the hostages, or whether any of them had been killed or wounded in Thursday's operation.

"We're not going to get into numbers, we're not going to get into names," she said. "This goes directly to protecting the safety and security, not only of our Americans but of the other nations that are affected."

Read more on:    algeria  |  us  |  north africa  |  algeria hostage crisis  |  algeris hostage crisis
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