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Algeria: 7 hostages, 11 militants dead as conflict comes to an end

Seven hostages and 11 militants are dead Saturday after Algerian special forces stormed Ain Amenas and brought the four-day conflict to an end.

Algeria hostage crisis jan 18 2013 6Enlarge
Algerian Islamists clash with security forces during a protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to allow French fighter jets to fly in Algerian airspace, in the capital Algiers on Jan. 18. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Seven hostages and 11 militants are dead Saturday after Algerian special forces stormed Ain Amenas and brought the four-day conflict to an end.

According to The New York Times, a report from the official Algerian news agency said that the 11 kidnappers were killed in "a final assault," but not before they were able to turn and kill the seven hostages. The nationalities of the hostages were not immediately known.

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Algerian authorities had said there were around 30 militants still in the Ain Amenas gas field, located in the Sahara, on Wednesday, and with 18 already reported dead, the hostage situation appeared to be over, noted the Associated Press. The number of hostages who were still being held by the final group of militants on Saturday was unknown, but the militants themselves had said they were holding seven: three Belgians, two Americans, a Japanese and a Briton.

United States officials confirmed on Friday that Americans were among the remaining hostages.

According to The Guardian, they also identified American Frederick Buttaccio as one of the hostages killed Thursday. Buttaccio lived in Houston, Texas, and the circumstances of his death are still unclear. US officials said his remains have been recovered.

The Times reported that it was not clear whether all the kidnappers involved in the hostage situation had been killed or whether any remaining hostages had been freed.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/130119/algeria-7-hostages-11-militants-dead-conflict-comes-end