Algerian Military Retakes Gas Plant: 16 Hostages, 32 terrorists Dead

The Algerian military took back the Ayn Imnas gas plant on Saturday, invading it and killing 32 radical fundamentalists, including their leader, Abdul Rahmani al-Nijeri, from Niger. Some of the 16 Western hostages who were killed may have been executed by the radicals as the Algerian troops closed in.

Algiers announced that 107 foreign hostages and 685 Algerian hostages were alive. But official sources said they found dead hostages as they went into the facility, and pledged to investigate.

It is being reported that the militants threatened to blow up the hostages as the Algerian military was beginning is final assault.

Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that the Algerian government has been unwilling to give an accounting of the dead hostages, probably because it fears it will be blamed for the hostage deaths.

The heavy-handedness of the operation and the refusal to parlay with the attackers was typical of the tactics evolved by the Algerian military in the 1990s in its fight with the supporters of the Islamic Salvation Front and its more radical offshoots. Algeria has been criticized by European nations for not warning them that such an operation was about to be launched, but its government insists that it did let others, including the US, know what they were planning.

The Associated Press has a video report:

13 Responses

  1. Given the total number of the terrorists and the hostages, it seems that the Algerian forces have done as well as could be expected and contrasts favorably with the French attempt to release one of their hostages a few days ago in Somalia.
    However, while the West is righty condemning the terrorists who attacked Ayn Imnas complex, it is strange that they are supporting and in some cases arming the same Jihadi and Salafi fighters who are fighting against the government in Syria.

    • Actually the US and France are *not* helping Salafi forces in Syria. They are trying to keep medium and heavy weapons out of their hands and are trying to ensure that moderate forces come out on top.

      Given that the Baath government decided to commit crimes against humanity to suppress peaceful demonstrations, supporting it is not an option, and everyone would be upset if the West was backing Damascus.

    • It is nevertheless quite fair to remark that the US is “objectively pro-Salafist” in Syria.

      1. There are many radical fundamentalists who are not Al-Nusra. Radicals are found throughout the rebel spectrum in Syria.

      2. The USA may not supply al-Nusra, but they encourage their allies in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf autocracies, and in Turkey to give all manner of support to radicals in Syria. One could accuse the US gov’t of playing the role of Bart Simpson, but gone global: “I didn’t do it, nobody saw me do it, you can’t prove anything!”

      • I am sorry, but none of this is true and you cannot provide evidence for any of it.

      • Al-Nusra is likely to be thorn in the side of anyone who succeeds the Assad regime. There is no reason the U.S. would want to see them supported in any way.

        Some reports have suggested the al-Nusra fighters are Iraqi rather than Syrian citizens. The Syrian National Coalition’s leader has tried to get the U.S. to lift the terrorist designation assigned to al-Nusra – this is likely because this will not help the cohesiveness of the Free Syrian Army if al-Nusra becomes an organization that will be fighting the Kurds and other anti-Assad elements.

        Al-Nusra has only several hundred fighters and amounts to a small percentage of the Syrian resistance forces. There are not necessary to defeat Assad militarily and may resist a post-Assad transitional government if not represented in the Syrian National Coalition.

        Pro al-Qaeda extremists have caused headaches for every regime that has hosted them – be it Gaza, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen or elsewhere.

      • “It is nevertheless quite fair to remark that the US is “objectively pro-Salafist” in Syria.”

        Your above-cited statement is simply untrue. The US is not “objectively pro-Salafist.” All the evidence suggests otherwise.

      • The use of the term and concept “objectively pro-” is as morally and intellectually bankrupt when used to slur people you dislike, as it was when it was used to slur opponents of the Iraq War.

      • The USA may not supply al-Nusra, but they encourage their allies in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf autocracies, and in Turkey to give all manner of support to radicals in Syria. One could accuse the US gov’t of playing the role of Bart Simpson, but gone global: “I didn’t do it, nobody saw me do it, you can’t prove anything!”

        One could, on must stronger grounds, accuse you of inventing a story out of whole cloth, realizing you have nothing to back it up, and then coming up with an excuse for why a lack of evidence shouldn’t be used to rebut you.

  2. Agreed. The Algerian military’s history explains a lot on how the operation was carried out and how it ended.
    link to bbc.co.uk

    Its being reported now that some kidnappers were taken alive.

    link to bbc.co.uk

    Comments made by the French and US presidents were more forgiving of the operation compared to the British, Japanese and other concerned foreign nations.

    • “Comments made by the French and US presidents were more forgiving of the operation compared to the British, Japanese and other concerned foreign nations.”

      The US Government, like the Algerian Government, has a long-standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists.

  3. Professor, you fail to mention that the terrorists in Algeria are actually heroes by your definition of the “revolutionaries” in Syria. I cannot understand why you call one lot of terrorists ‘revolutionaries and another lot rebels. They are all murders and thugs who want to take over the Country (or any Country) for that matter in which they are fighting.

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