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Americans among hostages following Islamist attack in Algeria

Americans among hostages following Islamist attack in Algeria
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POSTED: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 2:41pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 2:43pm

The U.S. State Department has confirmed that Americans are among the hostages following an Islamist attack on a natural gas field in Algeria.

State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, said in a press conference on Wednesday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been in touch witht he Algerian Prime Minister as well as the U.S. Ambassador to the country.

Algerian hostages who were taken by the Islamic militants at the gas field near the Libyan border have been freed by their captors, Algerian State TV reported. However foreign hostages -- from Norway, Britain, the United States, France and Japan -- were still being held.

Nuland did not say how many Americans were being held hostage, citing concerns about their safety.

"We condemn in strongest terms the terrorist attack on British Petroleum personnel and facilities in Amenas, Algeria earlier today," Nuland said.

"We obviously are closely monitoring the situation. We're in contact with Algerian authorities, and our diplomatic counterparts in Algiers as well as with BP's security office in London. The best information that we have at this time is that U.S. citizens are among the hostages. I hope that you will understand that in order to protect their safety, I'm not going to get into numbers. I'm not going to get into names. I'm not going to get into any further detail as we continue to work on this issue with the Algerian authorities and also with their employers. Let me also say that the Secretary has spoken to our Ambassador in Algiers, Ambassador Ensher, today and as I was coming down here, she was on the phone with Algerian Prime Minister Sellal."

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