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Algerian offials bemoan deaths of those held captive

11:57 AM, Jan 19, 2013   |    comments
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LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press

LONDON (AP) - Britain's defense minister says it appears the hostage situation in Algeria has come to an end and resulted in further loss of life.

Philip Hammond calls the loss of life appalling and unacceptable. He says "it is the terrorists that bear the sole responsibility for it." Hammond spoke at the start of a news conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

According to the state news agency in Algeria, special forces stormed a natural gas complex in the Sahara desert on Saturday in a "final assault" aimed at ending the four-day-old hostage crisis.

The report didn't say whether any hostages or militants remained alive, and it didn't give the nationalities of the dead. Panetta says much remains "sketchy" but "we know that lives have been lost."

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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