60 hostages dead, missing in standoff

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iol news pic 18jan Algeria Kidnapping AP FILE - This is a April 19, 2005 fiel photo released by Statoil via NTB scanpix, shows the Ain Amenas gas field in Algeria, where Islamist militants raided and took hostages Wednesday Jan. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Kjetil Alsvik, Statoil via NTB scanpix, File)

Algiers, Algeria- Algeria's state news service says about 60 foreign hostages are unaccounted for in the standoff with Islamist militants now entering its third day.

The news service said more than half the 132 foreign hostages had been freed, but the report could not account for the rest. The report Friday also said special forces had resumed negotiations after an assault Thursday at the gas plant deep in the Sahara.

A Mauritanian news site that frequently receives messages from al-Qaida linked militants said the hostage-takers in Algeria had offered to trade two captive Americans for two jailed terror figures in the United States.

One of the two, Omar Abdel Rahman, masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. - Sapa-AP



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