Bloody siege over

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AlgeriaNorway Algerian Gendarmes escort a freed Norwegian hostage Oddvar Birkedal (C) at a police station in In Amenas January 19, 2013. The Algerian army on Saturday carried out a final assault on al Qaeda-linked gunmen holed up in a desert gas plant, killing 11 of the Islamists after they took the lives of seven more foreign hostages, a local source and the state news agency said.

Algeria's state news service says de-mining teams are going through the gas refinery that was the scene of a bloody four-day hostage standoff, searching for explosive traps left by the Islamic militants who took dozens of foreigner prisoner.

Algerian special forces stormed the natural gas complex in the Sahara on Saturday to end the siege that left at least 23 hostages dead and killed 32 militants involved, the Algerian government said.

With few details emerging from the remote Ain Amenas site in eastern Algeria, it was unclear whether anyone was rescued in the final operation, but the number of hostages killed on Saturday - seven - was how many the militants had said they still had.

The government described the toll as provisional and some foreigners remain unaccounted for. - Sapa-AP

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