100 hostages freed, 30 missing

2013-01-18 19:01

Algiers - Algerian special forces have freed about 100 foreign hostages from Islamist gunmen at a remote gas plant near the Libyan border, but some 30 are still missing, say sources and the national media.

"Around 100 foreigners out of 132 hostages seized by a terrorist group that attacked the Tiguentourine gas plant on Wednesday have been freed," reports said.

The Algerian news agency had said earlier that "more than half" of the foreign hostages, as well as 573 Algerians, had been freed in the rescue operation.

Reports from Washington said the US government was in constant contact with the Algerian government, after the administration made it clear late on Thursday that it was not aware of the bid to free the hostages from Islamic militants ahead of time.

"We are in close touch with our other international partners, as well as BP's security office in London," said national security council spokesperson Tommy Vietor.