Yesterday in what appeared to be a reprisal against French military intervention in Mali, terrorists in Algeria attacked a BP oil plant. The attack on the plant itself was unsuccessful. This did not stop the rebels, terrorists, criminals, call them what you will. Instead they turned to the workers. Sky News reported that, 'An Islamist militant group has claimed to have kidnapped up to 41 foreign nationals - including seven Americans and an Irishman in a dawn raid on the gas facility part-operated by BP, Algerian state oil company Sonatrach, and Norway's Statoil in Algeria.'
Today in the UK David Cameron is chairing a meeting of COBRA, in order to consider the possible alternatives, to finding a resolution to the crisis.
The gas compound remains under siege by the Islamist gunmen. Today however there is news that 30 Algerian workers have managed to escape. Algerian state TV announced their escape. Was it an escape or where they released as not foreign nationals? Yesterday one Briton, and an Algerian were killed, plus six others injured, as the rebels attacked.
The man believed to be behind the attack is Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a one-eyed Islamist also known as Mr Marlboro and The Uncatchable. There are varying rebel groups operating in Algeria and neighboroughing countries. His particular band of rebels is thought to have links with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. It reportedly operates under various names such as Khaled Abul Abbas Brigade, the Masked Ones and The Blood Battalion. It is a Mali based rebel organisation. Its aim appears to be to overthrow the Algerian government.
It is looking increasingly likely that a rescue operation will be undertaken. Governments are sticking to their principles of non-negotiation with terrorist groups around the World. Whilst this a difficult choice for the vicitms and their loved ones to bear, negotiations can ultimately lead to more kidnapping and ransoms increasing.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague refutes the idea that the attack is a reprisal for last week's intervention by the French in Mali. He said such attacks take long time planning and must have been organised some time ago.
The latest information appears muddled.
There are conflicting reports and the news is still coming in. Some claim that no Algerian hostages escaped. Other reports claim that an Algerian rescue attempt has left 35 hostages and 15 militants dead.
A White House statement will follow shortly.
Updates as the crisis unfolds...........