(TheBlaze/AP) — Over the last 24 hours, details have been foggy about the hostage situation in Algerian. Islamic militants said they captured 41 foreign hostages at a natural gas complex in the Algerian desert. Some were killed in an Algerian military assault, though information is unclear and figures vary widely. Below is what we know as of Friday morning.
Algeria’s state news service says about 60 foreign hostages are unaccounted for in the standoff with Islamist militants now entering its third day.
The news service said more than half the 132 foreign hostages had been freed, but the report could not account for the rest. The report Friday also said special forces had resumed negotiations after an assault Thursday at the gas plant deep in the Sahara.
A Mauritanian news site that frequently receives messages from al-Qaida linked militants said the hostage-takers in Algeria had offered to trade two captive Americans for two jailed terror figures in the United States.
One of the two, Omar Abdel Rahman, masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
CBS reports at least four Americans have been freed and details part of the military rescue mission:
KEYE-TV has more on one of the Irish hostages who was rescued, including audio from him explaining he was wired to explosives at one point during the crisis:
Fox has this report on the Americans, including one still missing and how many may have been killed (their numbers seem to differ slightly from CBS):
An American from Texas remains missing after an Algerian military raid on an Al Qaeda-linked group reportedly ended a hostage standoff at a remote gas plant in the Saharan Desert.
Two Americans escaped unharmed Thursday from the hostage standoff, a senior U.S. defense officials told Fox News, and five other Americans who had been at the vast Ain Amenas complex were able to avoid being taken captive when the terrorists first attacked early Wednesday.
The Associated Press reports at least six people, and perhaps many more, were killed — Britons, Filipinos and Algerians — in the Algerians special forces’ rescue mission. Dozens more remained unaccounted for, including Britons, French, Norwegians, Romanians, Malaysians, Japanese, Algerians, at least one American and the fighters themselves.
Here’s a summary of the latest information on the hostages:
- ALGERIA: Hundreds of Algerians worked at the gas plant, but the Algerian media say most were released.
- NORWAY: Eight Norwegian employees of Statoil remain unaccounted-for.
- UNITED STATES: Seven Americans were hostages, the militants said, but they claimed only two survived the Algerian strafing Thursday. A U.S. official said late Thursday that while some Americans escaped, other Americans remain either held or unaccounted for.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the U.S. is working with the British and Algerian governments to assess what’s happening.
- BRITAIN: British Prime Minister David Cameron says 30 Britons were unaccounted for Thursday but that number is now “significantly reduced.” One Briton was confirmed killed in the initial attack on Wednesday.
- JAPAN: JGC Corp, which provides services at the complex, confirmed seven Japanese employees were safe and 10 others were unaccounted for. Ten non-Japanese employees are also alive, it said.
- PHILIPPINES: Algeria’s state news agency said two Filipino hostages were killed. Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said Friday at least one Filipino escaped with injuries during the military operation and he had no information about any fatalities.
- MALAYSIA: Two Malaysians were held, the government says.
- IRELAND: A 36-year-old Irish electrician was among the hostages but managed to escape.
- FRANCE: President Francois Hollande said there are French hostages but gave no exact number.
- ROMANIA: Romania’s Foreign Ministry says Romanians are among hostages.