The Associated Press reports that an Al Qaeda-linked group called “Those Who Signed in Blood” has seized about 20 hostages at a BP natural gas plant in Algeria. Among the hostages are 7 Americans. Apparently, the motivation of the group is to punish countries who are helping the French in Mali;
Hundreds of Algerians work at the plant and were taken in the attack, but the state news agency reported that they have gradually been released in small groups, unharmed by the late afternoon.
A group called the Katibat Moulathamine, or the Masked Brigade, called a Mauritanian news outlet to say one of its affiliates had carried out the operation on the Ain Amenas gas field, taking 41 hostages from nine or 10 different nationalities, including the seven Americans.
The group’s claim could not be independently substantiated and the U.S. embassy said it wasn’t “aware of any U.S. citizen casualties.”
So, I guess this will be our trigger for an increased presence in Africa. It should also serve as an example of why we can’t leave piecemeal support units unprotected in the war against terror. Apparently this group tried to attack a bus full of people and were beaten back, so they attacked the plant and the barracks instead. It seems to me like there would be protection ready for the terrorists after the bus was attacked, but I guess that’s just me.
It’s a good thing that al Qaeda has been beaten though, isn’t it?