Algeria Hostage Crisis Over, 1 American Dead, Fate of 2 More Uncertain

PHOTO: The State Department has confirmed that 58-year old Fred Buttaccio of suburban Houston was killed at some point during the attack and subsequent rescue efforts at a Algerian gas plant where al Qaeda-linked terrorists took hostages.
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After the Algerian military's final assault on terrorists holding hostages at a gas complex, the four-day hostage crisis is over, but apparently with additional loss of life among the foreign hostages.

One American, Fred Buttaccio of Texas, has been confirmed dead by the U.S. State Department. Two more U.S. hostages remain unaccounted for, with growing concern among U.S. officials that they did not survive.

But another American, Mark Cobb of Corpus Christi, Texas is now confirmed as safe. Sources close to his family say Cobb, who is a senior manager of the facility, is safe and reportedly sent a text message " I'm alive."

In a statement, President Obama said, "Today, the thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the families of all those who were killed and injured in the terrorist attack in Algeria. The blame for this tragedy rests with the terrorists who carried it out, and the United States condemns their actions in the strongest possible terms. ... This attack is another reminder of the threat posed by al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups in North Africa."

According to Algerian state media, 32 militants are dead and a total of 23 hostages perished during the four-day siege of the In Amenas facility in the Sahara. The Algerian Interior Ministry also says 107 foreign nationals who worked at the facility for BP and other firms were rescued or escaped from the al Qaeda-linked terrorists who took over the BP joint venture facility on Wednesday.

The Japanese government says it fears "very grave" news, with multiple casualties among the 10 Japanese citizens working at the In Amenas gas plant.

Five British nationals and one U.K. resident are either deceased or unaccounted for in the country, according to British Foreign Minister William Hague. Hague also said that the Algerians have reported that they are still trying to clear boobytraps from the site.

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