The hostage crisis at a gas plant in Algeria is over after a final Algerian military operation, which resulted in the deaths of seven hostages and 11 militants Saturday. According to CNN, at least 23 hostages and 32 “terrorists” were killed during the chaotic three-day assault. Hundreds of Algerian workers and foreigners were also reportedly freed in the military action.
Algerian authorities said they believe the militants’ attack was revenge for allowing France to use Algerian airspace for an offensive against Islamist militants in neighboring Mali.
Special forces had had to move in on Saturday because the terrorists wanted to flee the site with the hostages, Algerian state TV said The terrorists planned to take the captives to Mali to put pressure on France and the other nations who intervened in that country, it said.
The militants also planned to blow up the gas installation, state TV said. Operations had been halted to prevent an explosion.
Now the Algerian government faces questions over its decision Thursday to stage a military offensive at the site—a move some nations criticized as endangering the lives of the hostages.