Algerian Hostage Crisis is Over: 30 Hostages Dead, But Just 7 Foreigners

Reuters reports that a major hostage situation at a BP facility in Algeria has ended after several hours of intense battle which saw rebels deploy land mines, machine guns and rocket launchers against an Algerian attack force that utilized heavy armor, helicopters and waves of soldiers to surround the plant from all angles.

The rebels who assumed control of the facility are reported to have taken over 600 hostages, including 41 foreigners and many native workers. According to Reuters, 30 of those hostages are now dead, including 7 foreigners. 

The attackers claimed to be members of al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb, a rebel group which stretches across several states in Northern Africa. The hostage-takers ambushed a convoy of workers, later capturing many victims at the plant's residential complex. Their motivations are believed to be retaliation for a French strike on allied fighters in Mali.

Casualty figures can reasonably be expected to increase, as security forces are still combing the complex. It remains possible some insurgents remain alive or have been captured by security forces.