Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Attackers Had Inside Help, Officials in Algeria Say; U.S. Confirms 3 Americans Were Killed, 7 Survived Hostage Crisis

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Attackers Had Inside Help, Officials in Algeria Say; U.S. Confirms 3 Americans Were Killed, 7 Survived Hostage Crisis

Article excerpt

ALGIERS, ALGERIA The hostage-taking at a remote Algerian gas plant was carried out by 30 militants from across the northern swath of Africa and two from Canada, authorities said. The militants, who wore military uniforms and knew the layout, included explosives experts who rigged it with bombs and a leader whose final order was to kill all the captives.

The operation also had help with inside knowledge a former driver at the plant, Algerias prime minister said Monday.

In all, 38 workers and 29 militants died, the Algerian prime minister said Monday, offering the governments first detailed account of four days of chaos that ended with a bloody military raid he defended as the only way possible to end the standoff. Five foreigners are still missing.

Three U.S. citizens were killed, while seven Americans made it out safely, U.S. officials said Monday.

The State Department confirmed that gas workers Victor Lynn Lovelady and Gordon Lee Rowan were killed at the Ain Amenas field in the Sahara. U.S. officials identified Texas resident Frederick Buttaccio as the first death last week.

Im glad we were able to get some rescued, but we did lose three Americans, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday. That just tells us that al-Qaida is committed to creating terror wherever they are and weve got to fight back.

A U.S. official had told The Associated Press earlier Monday that the FBI had recovered Loveladys and Rowans bodies and notified their families. The official had no details on how the Americans died, and their hometowns were not released.

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal told reporters, You may have heard the last words of the terrorist chief. He gave the order for all the foreigners to be killed, so there was a mass execution, many hostages were killed by a bullet to the head.

Mondays account offered the first Algerian government narrative of the standoff, from the moment of the attempted bus hijacking on Wednesday to the moment when the attackers prepared Saturday to detonate bombs across the sprawling complex. …

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