(Reuters) - The United States said on Wednesday that U.S. citizens were among the hostages taken when Islamist militants raided a gas facility in Algeria and that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had telephoned Algeria's prime minister to discuss the incident.
"Beyond confirming that there are Americans
among the hostages, I will ask you to respect our decision not to get
into any further details as we try to secure these people," State
Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news briefing.
said Clinton had spoken with both Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek
Sellal and the U.S. ambassador in Algeria on Thursday, and that U.S.
officials were also in contact with the security office of British
Petroleum, which operates the gas field together with Norway's Statoil
and Algeria's state company Sonatrach.
militants said they had kidnapped up to 41 foreigners, including seven
Americans, in the dawn raid in retaliation for France's intervention in
Mali, according to media reports. The raiders were also reported to have
killed three people, including a Briton and a French national.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, speaking to reporters in Rome where
he was on an official trip, said that "by all indications, this is a
"Obviously we're continuing to review the situation to determine exactly what happened," Panetta said.
want to assure the American people that the United States will take all
necessary and proper steps that are required to deal with this
Panetta said he did not
have any firm information on the number of hostages, or on whether
there were links to the situation in Mali, where French troops launched
their first ground assault against Islamist rebels on Wednesday after
six days of air strikes.
"I do know that terrorists are terrorists," Panetta said.
(Reporting By Andrew Quinn, additional reporting by David Alexander in Rome; Editing by Sandra Maler and Paul Simao)
Names of the hostages will be released as soon as the families are informed. According to some reports this attack was in retaliation to France involvement in Mali. We condemn these attack and urge that the hostages be released immediately.