3 Americans Among 37 Foreigners Killed in Algeria Siege

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 21 2013 11:59 AM

Algeria: 37 Foreign Workers, Including 3 Americans, Killed in Siege Led by Canadian

159832428
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal speaks during a press conference on Monday

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

The Algerian government finally spoke about the crisis that has put the country at the center stage of global terrorism concerns since Wednesday, when a group of Islamist militants took over a desert gas plant. Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said that a total of 37 foreigners, seven of whom are still unidentified, died during the hostage crisis that ended Saturday. Three Americans, three Britons, and seven Japanese were among the dead, reports the Associated Press. All but one of the dead hostages were foreigners and five are still missing. The prime minister said the militants were primarily interested in taking over a bus that was carrying foreign workers, including a BP director, to take them to Northern Mali and use them as leverage during negotiations.

The government’s account Monday illustrated just how international the plot to take over the gas plant was. The Islamist militants included two Canadians, one of whom apparently coordinated the attack, reports Reuters. The group of hostage takers included people from Egypt, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Tunisia, and Algeria. The militants wore army uniforms and apparently had inside information through a former driver at the plant who took part in the siege. Three suspected militants are in custody but officials didn’t reveal their nationalities.

Advertisement

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a one-eyed veteran jihadist, reportedly released a video claiming responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out on behalf of al-Qaida, reports the New York Times.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 22 2014 8:07 AM Why Haven’t the Philadelphia Eagles Ever Won a Super Bowl?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Science
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.