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Algerian hostage crisis heightens as scores are reported dead (+video)

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(Read caption) Islamic militants have told a Mauritanian news outlet that that 35 hostages were killed but seven are still alive after Algerian military helicopters strafed a gas complex deep in the Sahara in Algeria.
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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

Dozens of hostages, both Algerian and foreign, have reportedly escaped the natural gas field in eastern Algeria that Islamic militants seized on Monday, but as the hostage situation enters its second day, an estimated 35 hostages and 15 hostage-takers were killed in an airstrike as they tried to move from one plant location to another, reports Al Jazeera and Reuters.

Reuters reports that according to Algerian news sources, some 30 Algerians and 15 foreigners have escaped the natural gas field in the Sahara Desert near the Algerian-Libyan border. But scores of Algerians and dozens of foreigners remain hostages of the "Battalion of Blood" militant group, according to statements that the hostages were allowed to make in phone calls to news outlets.

An unidentified hostage who spoke to France 24 television said prisoners were being forced to wear explosive belts. Their captors were heavily armed and had threatened to blow up the plant if the Algerian army tried to storm it.

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