Jan. 16, 2013: This undated image released by BP petroleum company shows the Amenas natural gas field in the eastern central region of Algeria, where Islamist militants raided and took hostages. (AP/BP)
Islamist militants from Mali have attacked and taken control of a natural gas field partly owned by BP in southern Algeria, killing two and reportedly taking 41 people hostage, including seven Americans.
A group called the Katibat Moulathamine, or the Masked Brigade, called a Mauritanian news outlet to say one of its subsidiaries had carried out the operation on the Ain Amenas gas field, taking 41 hostages from nine or 10 different nationalities.
The group’s claim could not be independently substantiated and typically there would be fewer than 20 foreign staff members on site on a typical day, along with hundreds of Algerian employees.
The group said the attack was in revenge for Algeria’s support of France’s operation against Al Qaeda-linked Malian rebels groups far to the southeast.