Algeria: Army rescues hostages, toll unclear

By Paul Schemm

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 17 2013 4:51 p.m. MST

Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould Kabila said the 20-odd militants entered the country from nearby Libya in three vehicles, in an operation commanded by extremist mastermind Moktar Belmoktar, who is normally based in Mali.

"The Algerian authorities have expressed, many times, to the Libyan authorities, its fears and asked it a dozen times to be careful and secure borders with Algeria," Kabila was quoted as saying on the website of the newspaper Echourouk.

The militants made it clear that their attack was fallout from the intervention in Mali. One commander, Oumar Ould Hamaha, said they were now "globalizing the conflict" in revenge for the military assault on Malian soil.

France has encountered fierce resistance from the extremist groups in Mali and failed to persuade many allies to join in the actual combat. The Algeria raid could push other partners to act more decisively in Mali — but could also scare away those who are wary of inviting terrorist attacks back home.

Associated Press writers Karim Kabir in Algiers, Kimberly Dozier and Robert Burns in Washington, Lori Hinnant and Elaine Ganley in Paris, Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin, Bjoern H. Amland in Oslo, Norway, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo and Cassie Vinograd and Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.

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