Norway Says Two Missing Hostages Are Dead In Algeria


OSLO, Norway (AP) - Norwegian energy company Statoil ASA said Friday that two Norwegian employees missing after a terror attack on a gas plant in Algeria have been confirmed dead.

Statoil CEO Helge Lund said the two workers were 58-year-old Tore Bech and Thomas Snekkevik, 35. Bech, who had worked for the Statoil in Algeria since 2006, was the stepfather of Norwegian International Development Minister Heikki Holmaas.

Lund gave no details about the victims or circumstances leading to their discovery or identification.

Three other Norwegian Statoil employees are still missing after the Jan. 16 attack on the Ain Amenas plant in the Sahara, which resulted in a four-day siege by Algerian forces, Statoil said. An al-Qaida affiliated organization has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg conveyed condolences to the families of the dead, describing the attack as "brutal ... and full of evil." He added that it is unlikely that any more survivors of the attack will be found.

Algerian authorities have said at least 37 hostages and 29 militants died during the terrorist attack - which sent scores of foreign energy workers fleeing across the desert for their lives - and that five were still missing. Some of the fatalities were badly burned, making it difficult to identify them.

It was unclear whether the two Norwegians were among the missing or whether their bodies had been found but have only now been identified. Norway has a forensic team in Algeria helping local officials.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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