An Al Qaeda linked group is allegedly holding seven Americans hostage in an Algerian gas field. The reportedly militant group took control of the gas field and claims to be holding 41 people hostage.
The southern Algeria natural gas field is owned partially by BP, Fox News reports. Islamist militants from Mali are being credited as the hostage takers. The group, Katibat Moulathamine, or the Masked Brigade, called news outlets in Mauritanian to state a subsidiary group had taken control of the Ain Amenas gas field. The 41 hostages are reportedly from 10 different countries.
The claims by the supposedly Al Qaeda linked group have not yet been substantiated by outside sources. Typically, there would be 20 or fewer foreign staff members at the Ain Amenas natural gas field on any given day. Several hundred Algerians are also believed to work at the partly BP owned energy complex.
The Masked Brigade reportedly noted that the attack on the gas field was in revenge for Algeria’s support of the French operation against Malian rebel groups. The Malians are also allegedly an Al Qaeda linked organization.
A statement released by BP noted that the Algerian natural gas field was attacked and is now occupied by an unidentified group of armed people. The energy company also stated that some of its staffers were believed to be among the 41 hostages being held inside the facility.
While the identities of the hostages are yet unknown, Ireland noted that a 36-year-old married male citizen is believed to be among those being held by the Al Qaeda linked group. Both Britain and Japan officials have also noted a belief that some of their citizens are at the Ain Amenas in south Algeria, the New York Times notes. A Norwegian woman reportedly received a phone call from her husband stating he was among those being held after the attack.