Details of this story are still a little scattered, so we’ll update as we go. As many 40 foreign nationals working in Algeria, including Americans were captured and are being held hostage by Islamic terrorists.
from Wall Street Journal:
Militants with possible links to al Qaeda seized about 40 foreign hostages, including several Americans, at a natural-gas field in Algeria, posing a new level of threat to nations trying to blunt the growing influence of Islamist extremists in Africa.
As security officials in the U.S. and Europe assessed options to reach the captives from distant bases, Algerian security forces failed in an attempt late Wednesday to storm the facility.
A French effort to drive Islamist militants from neighboring Mali that began with airstrikes last week expanded on Wednesday with the first sustained fighting on the ground. France’s top target, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, claimed responsibility for the Algeria kidnappings, calling it retaliation. The claim couldn’t be verified, although AQIM has its origins in Algeria and operates across a swath of Africa.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. would take “necessary and proper steps” in the hostage situation, and didn’t rule out military action. He said the Algeria attack could represent a spillover from Mali.
There are also reports that 25 of the hostages may have escaped, but that 6 of them were slaughtered. There is no word yet on whether or not any of the Americans were among the ones escaped or killed.
Meanwhile, neither President Obama nor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have yet spoken a word about the incident. Their silence strikes me as eerily similar to the Benghazi terrorist attack.