Algerian Militants Tell US to Free 2 Jailed Terrorists
Report says they will free US hostages in return
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2013 12:55 PM CST
Unidentified rescued hostages pose for the media in Ain Amenas, Algeria, in this image taken from television Friday.   (AP Photo/Canal Algerie via Associated Press TV)

(Newser) – A day after Algeria said it had wrapped up its mission to free hostages held by militants at a desert gas facility, the situation remains anything but wrapped up. By most accounts, dozens of hostages are still being held, with an unspecified number of Americans among them. Some developments:

  • New demands: A news agency in Mauritania reports that the al-Qaeda-linked militants will release American hostages if the US frees two convicted terrorists, reports USA Today. The two are "blind sheik" Omar Abdel-Rahman, mastermind of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, and Aafia Siddiqui, a female Pakistani scientist convicted of trying to kill US soldiers and FBI agents while in custody.

  • Revised numbers: The Algerian government's latest figures say that 132 foreign workers were originally abducted, far higher than thought, and that about 100 have since been freed, reports AP.
  • Hostages' ordeals: Some of those freed have described having explosives strapped to their chests and witnessing the executions of other hostages, reports the New York Times.

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Jan 18, 2013 6:44 PM CST
TRUTH BE TOLD ..... The more information given by the Algerian Intelligence Agencies, the more they sound like the US Intelligence Agencies. --- They, like our own CIA, don't know who or what the terrorists are, be they Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists, Islamic extremists, Islamic terrorists, cigarette smugglers, etc, .... or the CIA agents who assassinated Ambassador Stevens, in Benghazi. --- One thing is for sure .. the CIA didn't hire these Team Obama fools for their intelligence. --------- REALLY
Jan 18, 2013 3:47 PM CST
State Department, apologize profusely for American imperialism. CIA, release those political prisoners immediately. Issue a formal apology on behalf of the American people for the mix up. Vice President, form a committee to get to the bottom of why Arabs hate American's and give us a couple ideas for executive orders that we can issue.
Jan 18, 2013 3:16 PM CST
Typical of the Al Qaeda cowards to hold civilian hostages.....