Yesterday militants attacked a gas compound in the Saharan dessert, Algeria. Conflicting reports hint that the attack was a reprisal against the west for its involvement in Mali. France was leading the military operation but the UK had offered logistical support in the form of two military planes. Other countries may have been involved also.
This morning in the UK David Cameron chaired a meeting of Cobra, the emergency cabinet committee.. Around 11am GMT a military operation was launched by force in Algeria. PM Cameron in the UK was unaware of this and has expressed his concerns. Were America in the same position or were they in on the mission?
Algerian soldiers had held the gas compound under siege since yesterday's attack. Details of today's operation will be updated as they come in.
Early reports claim that at least 34 hostages and 14 kidnappers have been killed. Four foreign hostages are reported killed and, an Irish man, Stephen McFaul, has spoken to his family back home.
At least one US armed drone is above the compound. Scotland's first Minister has confirmed that some Scottish citizens are hostages.
A White House statement offered little hard news. Japan has called on the Algerian government to halt the operation. The hostages include people from Japan, the USA and the UK
A US Drone is providing intelligence overhead
8:10pm GMT-Britons told to prepare for bad news
The Pentagon has reported that two American hostages have been freed.
Algerian media has reported the hostage situation has ended. They claim that six hostages and eight militants have been killed but the numbers have yet to be verified.
In London PM Cameron has cancelled his scheduled visit to Amsterdam, Europe. He was to make, what was predicted to be, a keynote speech on the relationship between the UK and the EU. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague is returning early to the UK from Australia. His visit has been cut short, due to the current crisis.
PM Cameron has told Britons that the crisis is ongoing and to prepare themselves for 'further bad news'.
UK government sources warn of multiple casualties.
The US is considering operations to fight the growth of al Qaeda. Counter-terrorism forces may be deployed into Libya, Mali and other countries in the region.
As War in Afghanistan is about to draw to a close does the West have the stomach for more protracted conflict? Does it have the resources? Did the death of Osama Bin Laden have any positive impact, as far as limiting terrorist organisations goes?