Algeria: Special Forces Complete Hostage Rescue at Gas Plant
Algeria's state news agency says that special forces have completed their operation to free hostages from a remote desert natural gas complex.
The report gave no new toll for the number of dead among either the hostages or the kidnappers, who were described as a "multinational terrorist" group.
Earlier Algerian TV had said that four foreign workers, two Britons and two Filipinos, died in the operation.
Earlier on Thursday, the militants themselves said that dozens had died in the assault.
A raid by Algerian forces -- in an apparent effort to re-take a gas plant in the Sahara Desert that had been captured by Islamist militants -- may have resulted in the deaths of most of the hostages they were holding.
The militants claim that 35 hostages and 15 militants were killed after Algerian military helicopters attacked the area. They say seven hostages survived, including two Americans.
A U.S. official says the Obama administration had offered military assistance to rescue the hostages, but that the Algerian government refused the help.
Algeria's news agency, citing local police, said four foreign hostages were freed in the operation.
Irish officials say an Irish hostage has made contact with his family, and is safe and free.
Algerian forces had surrounded the complex in a tense standoff since the plant was seized, and had vowed not to negotiate with the kidnappers.
Meanwhile, the White House is condemning the taking of dozens of hostages, including several Americans, from an oil plant in Algeria by militants linked to rebel Islamists in Mali.
Militants claim the hostages were killed Thursday, after Algerian military helicopters strafed the area during an attempt to free those being held. They say seven hostages survived.
White House press secretary Jay Carney won't confirm the status of the Americans or whether the U.S. offered to help the Algerian government with its raid on the energy complex.
Carney says the administration is monitoring the situation closely, is concerned about reports of killings and is in contact with the Algerian government. (AP)