Patrick Brennan @ NRO:
After Islamist militants linked with al-Qaeda took at least 41 foreigners (though according to Reuters, possibly as many as 130 or so) and many local employees hostage at a petroleum facility in Algeria on Wednesday morning, the Algerian military launched an attack on the facility on Thursday. This involved bombing several of the vehicles the terrorists had armed and were using to hold hostages, leading to a number of hostage deaths — the Algerian government has stated that they know of four hostage deaths (two Britons and two Filipinos), while a spokesman for the militant group claimed that the attack led to the deaths of 35 hostages and 15 militants. The Daily Mail cites “French sources” saying that Algeria decided to attack because the terrorists had begun executing hostages. The BBC summarizes what various countries have said about the fate of their citizens:
Japanese officials were meanwhile quoted as saying that at least 14 Japanese nationals were still missing. At least three managed to escape. . . .
Norway said eight of its nationals were currently unaccounted for. One is being treated at a hospital in In Amenas, while four escaped unharmed.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said two French workers were safe. It was unclear if another two were involved, he added.
One Irish citizen, an Austrian and five Americans have been freed, according to officials.
The British and Japanese governments have expressed their anger at not being informed of the operation on Thursday, with British prime minister David Cameron publicly railing this morning in Parliament against the Algerian government’s rebuffing the U.K., with a spokeswoman later confirming, though, that they respected the Algerians’ decision.
As of yesterday, the White House and the State Department have not expressed similar sentiments, declining to comment at all on whether the U.S. was even informed of the attack beforehand, and whether the U.S. had offered any assistance, offering only assurances that they remain in communication with the Algerian government (the Associated Press quotes an anonymous administration official saying the U.S. did make an offer of assistance).