x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Canadians among Algeria hostage takers: report

Two of the Al Qaeda-linked captors who took hostages at In Amenas gas plant have been identified as Canadians, according to reports.

ALGIERS // Two days after Algerian forces ended a hostage crisis at a desert gas plant, the exact toll of those killed in the bloodbath remained unknown Monday, while a television report identified two of the captors as Canadians.

The interior ministry had on Saturday reported that 23 foreign and Algerian hostages and 32 Islamist captors were killed during the four-day siege of the In Amenas gas plant in the deep Sahara desert.

The announcement was made soon after Algerian special forces had stormed the facility, ending the crisis.

But Algeria's private Ennahar television reported that 25 bodies were discovered at the plant on Sunday, while French daily El Watan gave a toll of 30 hostages found dead at the site the same day.

And Algerian media on Monday reported that around 50 hostages were killed, including foreigners and Algerians.

Algerian Communications Minister Mohamed Said had warned on Sunday that the death toll would be "revised upwards" but did not provide any figures.

Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal is expected to unveil final figures at a 1300 GMT press conference on Monday.

The interior ministry said that Algerian forces were able to free "685 Algerian employees and 107 foreigners".

In a separate report on Monday, Ennahar television said that the bodies of two Canadians, who were among Islamists killed in the crisis, have been recovered from the site.

"Two bodies of Canadian citizens were recovered among the terrorists in In Amenas," the channel reported, citing security sources.

When asked, a security source, without confirming, said: "We knew there were two Canadians among them."