When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Explosive Hostage Standoff In Algeria: Reports Of Escapes, Deaths


ALGIERS – At least 25 Western hostages held at an Algerian gas facility have escaped Thursday. News reports say Americans and Japanese are among those freed. There are also unconfirmed reports that several of the hostages have been killed after Algerian security forces had surrounded the gas facilities where Islamist terrorists were holding more than 100 hostages, including an estimated 41 Westerners, in a potentially explosive standoff linked to France's intervention in neighboring Mali.

As many as 30 Algerians managed to escape earlier on Thursday morning, a day after being taken hostage during the Islamist attack of the foreign-run station in eastern Algeria that left a British and Algerian dead.

The local news service TSA reported that one of the Algerian workers who was transported from the site by helicopter called on security forces to intervene quickly. The Algerian army has reportedly launched several attempts to free the hostages from the gas extraction site jointly run by Algerian, British and Norwegian energy companies.

The Westerners, who are believed to be held by the terrorist outfit, include Americans, French, Norwegian and Japanese.

Among those who managed to escape was a 52-year-old Frenchman said that “they were treated respectfully” by their captors, reports French daily Sud Ouest. Still, other reports said that the attackers had strapped explosive belts to several of the captives.

A la une d'El Khabar : "Al-Qaida frappe dans les profondeurs du Sahara algérien" bit.ly/SOKVRN twitter.com/courrierinter/…

— Courrier inter (@courrierinter) Janvier 17, 2013


*Algeria’s green light for French military planes to fly in the country's air space is one of the reasons this attack happened on its soil, according to Algerian daily El Watan.

*This particular Islamic group is reported to be led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, affiliated with al Qaeda, who is believed to be missing an eye and is known to French security services as "The Uncatchable."

*The French government says that it “completely trusts” the Algerian military to handle the situation.

*Ansar Dine, the Islamic group that controls large parts of northern Mali, condemned the terrorist attack in Algeria. “Ansar Dine never took hostages or anything related to this. We strongly condemn this attack,” said a spokesman for the group.

*British Foreign Minister William Hague stated that the terrorists have “no excuse” and that this situation was “unacceptable,” relays Le Monde.

*The Algerian Foreign Ministry stated: “We won’t negotiate. We heard their demand but we won’t gratify it with an answer,” reports the Nouvel Obs.

*Algerian helicopters are believed to be firing on the site, with reports that two Japanese men were wounded in this air strike.

*Le Monde’s correspondent says that the site is too large for the terrorists to control, and the Algerian military should have the capacity to infiltrate the facility.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

After Abbas: Here Are The Three Frontrunners To Be The Next Palestinian Leader

Israel and the West have often asked: Where is the Palestinian Mandela? The divided regimes between Gaza and the West Bank continues to make it difficult to imagine the future Palestinian leader. Still, these three names are worth considering.

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas speaking into microphone

Abbas is 88, and has been the leading Palestinian political figure since 2005

Thaer Ganaim/APA Images via ZUMA
Elias Kassem

Updated Dec. 5, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.

Israel has set two goals for its Gaza war: destroying Hamas and releasing hostages.

But it has no answer to, nor is even asking the question: What comes next?

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the return of the current Palestinian Authority to govern post-war Gaza. That stance seems opposed to the U.S. Administration’s call to revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume power in the coastal enclave.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

But neither Israel nor the U.S. put a detailed plan for a governing body in post-war Gaza, let alone offering a vision for a bonafide Palestinian state that would also encompass the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers much of the occupied West Bank, was created in1994 as part of the Oslo Accords peace agreement. It’s now led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat in 2005. Over the past few years, the question of who would succeed Abbas, now 88 years old, has largely dominated internal Palestinian politics.

But that question has gained new urgency — and was fundamentally altered — with the war in Gaza.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest