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article imageUnited States Air Force begins evacuating hostages in Algeria

By Greta McClain     Jan 18, 2013 in World
A United States Air Force aero evacuation plane has begun the process of evacuating Americans and other foreign nationals from the BP gas complex in Amenas, Algeria.
On Thursday, Digital Journal reported that the Algerian military launched a helicopter assault on the complex were members of Masked Brigade, an Al-Qaeda linked terrorist organization, were holding 41 foreign nationals hostage. The Algerian government continues to withhold details of the assault and attempted rescue which has reportedly caused at least 35 hostages their lives.
An official with the U.S. Defense Department has told CNN that an Air Force C-130 was dispatched to the area to conduct evacuation operations. According to Alarabiya, the C-130 landed at the Amenas airport early Friday morning local time. Hostages that remained at the BP complex will be evaluated and evacuated to a currently undisclosed U.S. facility in Europe. An estimated 10-20 people are expected to be evacuated aboard the C-130.
U.S. Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, said that the United States has been working non-stop since the hostage crisis began on Wednesday to ensure the safety and safe return of the American hostages. He went on to say:
"Terrorists should be on notice that they will find no refuge, not in Algeria, not in North Africa, not anywhere."
The New York Times confirms that the Algerian government has yet to confirm the number of hostages that were killed in Thursday's rescue attempt. Current estimates are between 4 to 35 foreign nationals being killed, although an Algerian official called the higher figure “exaggerated.”
Secretary Panetta told ABC News the United States was still trying to determine the number of American causalities, as well as the overall number of hostages killed. He continued by saying:
"We are looking at the situation very closely to determine exactly what happened, what the situation is on the ground. You can be assured that we're looking at all of the necessary steps that we need to take in order to deal with the situation."
More about Algeria, Hostages, BP, United States, us air force
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