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Algeria Siege: 'Victims' as Army Tries to Free Hostages

Algeria Siege: 'Victims' as Army Tries to Free Hostages

Algeria Siege: 'Victims' as Army Tries to Free Hostages

Algerian forces have moved against Islamic militants holding hostages at a gas facility in eastern Algeria, officials say.

Four foreigners were freed but a number of people were killed in the military operation, Algerian state news agency APS reported.

Algerian soldiers had been surrounding the facility near In Amenas that kidnappers occupied on Wednesday.

Reports quoting militants said at least 34 hostages and 14 kidnappers died.

Militants also told Mauritania's ANI news agency that seven foreign hostages were still alive after the Algerian military raid.

Nearly 600 Algerian workers and four foreign hostages - two from Scotland, one from France and one from Kenya - were freed during the operation, APS reported.

An Irishman who had been kidnapped was freed and has spoken to his family, Ireland's foreign ministry said.

The Algerian military targeted two vehicles as they tried to escape from the site with an unknown number of people on board. Militants told local media that Algerian forces had opened fire from the air.

Algerian Communications Minister Mohamed Said Belaid said in recent hours that military action was continuing.

"A significant number of terrorists were neutralised during this operation," he said.

"Unfortunately, we deplore that there are a few deaths and a few wounded. We don't have a definitive figure, but as soon as we do we will make it public," he added.

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