UPDATE: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Algeria's state news agency says that special forces have completed their operation to free hostages from a remote desert natural gas complex.
The report gave no new toll for the number of dead among either the hostages or the kidnappers, who were described as a "multinational terrorist" group.
Earlier Algerian TV had said that four foreign workers, two Britons and two Filipinos, died in the operation.
Earlier on Thursday, the militants themselves said that dozens had died in the assault.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Islamic militants have told a Mauritanian news outlet that that 35 hostages were killed but seven are still alive after Algerian military helicopters strafed a gas complex deep in the Sahara.
The spokesman for the Masked Brigade, which claimed responsibility for the attack Wednesday on the Algerian gas plant, said Thursday the survivors included three Belgians, two Americans, a Briton and a Japanese citizen.
The information came from the Nouakchott Information Agency, which often carries reports from al-Qaida-linked extremist groups.
The militant spokesman said the kidnappers were attacked by Algerian helicopters as they tried to leave the complex.
Algeria's news agency, citing local police, said four foreign hostages were freed in the operation.
The Algerian government would not immediately comment and the Associated Press could not confirm the information independently.