Algerian Prime Minister Offers More Details of Siege, Says 38

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - Algeria's prime minister is providing more details about the Islamist militants who attacked a natural gas plant in the Sahara last week.

According to the prime minister, the four-day crisis ended with 38 hostages and 29 of the militants dead. He says three of the attackers were captured, and five foreign workers remain unaccounted for.

The U.S. State Department confirms that three Americans were killed.

According to the Algerian leader, the militants included two Canadians -- and a team of explosives experts who had memorized the layout of the complex. He says they were prepared to blow it up.

Today's account is the first detailed narrative of the four-day standoff from the Algerian government. The siege began with an attempted bus hijacking on Wednesday of last week. The prime minister indicated that the operation was not, in fact, an immediate reaction to France's recent military intervention against Islamists in Mali -- since the captured militants said it took months of planning.

The final death toll is still unclear, since accounts from other governments appear to indicate that more than five workers are still missing.

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