Rebel Islamists were attacked earlier today by Algerian forces looking to free hostages from both Algeria and abroad at a BP fuel facility. Though President Obama offered to provide military aid to the Algerian troops, American assistance was refused. 35 hostages were apparently killed, with around seven escaping to freedom.
“It was an operation conceived well in advance — spectacular and needing a lot of preparation … It was not at all an improvised operation,” said Yves Bonnet, former head of France’s spy organization. “The operation was probably already scheduled and simply getting all those people into the desert would take several days.”
"We are closely monitoring the situation," said Jay Carney, White House Spokesman. "We are in contact with Algerian authorities and our international partners as well as BP security office in London. Unfortunately, the best information that we have at this time, as I said, indicates that U.S. citizens are among the hostages. But we do not have, at this point, more details to provide to you. We are certainly concerned about reports of loss of life and we are seeking clarity from the government of Algeria."
Algerian forces reportedly engaged two SUVs attempting to flee the site of the kidnapped hostages, resulting in multiple enemies killed in action. The United States scrambled unmanned Predator drones to oversee the sight, and provide intelligence for both their forces and forces engaged in combat.
"The situation remains unclear and we continue to seek updates from the authorities," BP said in a released statement. "Sadly, there have been some reports of casualties but we are still lacking any confirmed or reliable information. There are also reports of hostages being released or escaping."
Unconfirmed reports say that many Western hostages were killed in the raid. Information has been “murky” according to various news outlets and government officials.