'Numerous' Bodies Found at Algerian Gas Plant

Officials demining facility today find new bodies they say are unidentifiable

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jan 20, 2013 7:10 AM CST

(Newser) – Algerian bomb squads scouring a gas plant where Islamist militants took dozens of foreign workers hostage found "numerous" new bodies today as they searched for explosive traps left behind by the attackers, a security official said, a day after a bloody raid ended the four-day siege of the remote desert refinery. "The bodies could be either Algerian or foreign hostages," he said. He spoke on condition of anonymity. Algerian special forces stormed the natural gas complex in the Sahara desert yesterday to end the standoff, and the government said all 32 militants were killed. Algeria's chief government spokesman had earlier said he feared the toll of hostages—which stood at 23 yesterday—would rise as the special forces teams finished their search.

He said the militants came from six countries and were armed to cause maximum destruction. Sonatrach, the Algerian state oil company running the Ain Amenas site along with BP and Norway's Statoil, said the entire refinery had been mined. "They had decided to succeed in the operation as planned, to blow up the gas complex and kill all the hostages," said Communications Minister Mohamed Said.

Algerian special police unit officers guard the entrance of an hospital located near the gas plant where hostages have been kidnapped by Islamic militants, in Ain Amenas, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.   (Anis Belghoul)
Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is embraced by Executive Vice President in Statoil, Margrethe Oevrum, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.   (Anette Karlsen)
Two British hostages Peter, left, and Alan, right, (no family name available), are seen after being released, near the gas plant where they were kidnapped by Islamic militants, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.   (Anis Belghoul)
In this image made from video, people believed to be hostages kneel in the sand with their hands in the air at an unknown location in Algeria.   (AP Photo/Ennahar TV)
Frederick Buttaccio, who died in a terrorist attack at a natural gas complex in Algeria. The four-day standoff ended Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.   (AP Photo)
An Algerian border guard intervention brigade vehicle is seen in a street of Ain Amenas, near the gas plant where hostages have been kidnapped by Islamic militants, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)
This Oct. 8, 2012 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the city of Amenas, Algeria.   (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe)
An Algerian army truck is seen in a street of Ain Amenas, near the gas plant where hostages have been kidnapped by Islamic militants, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)
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