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'10 Britons at risk' in Algeria
At least 10 British citizens are understood to be among 60 foreign hostages still "at risk" as an Algerian mission to rescue hostages from a remote desert gas facility continues.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the Islamist terrorists behind the "brutal and savage" incident were being pursued by the Algerian military in an attempt to end the three-day crisis.
He said Britain would "continue to do everything we can to hunt the people down who are responsible for this and for other such terrorist outrages". But he publicly expressed his frustration that he had not been pre-warned of the special forces assault, in which some foreign workers were killed.
It was reported that two UK workers were among the casualties, which would bring the British death toll to three after one was killed in Wednesday's initial raid by Islamist militants. The foreign hostages are from eight different countries and many Algerians are held captive.
The Foreign Office has sent a plane carrying consular crisis staff to within 280 miles of the facility amid continued efforts by joint operator BP and the Government to evacuate UK workers.
Algerian authorities said a "large number" of hostages had been freed as a result of Thursday's military fightback but there had also been an unspecified number of deaths. State news is reporting that negotiations with the militants have resumed and 60 foreign workers remain unaccounted for.
There are also reports from a Mauritanian news site that the militants are demanding the release of two terror figures in US jail, including 1993 World Trade Centre bombing mastermind Omar Abdel Rahman, in return for the release of two US captives.
Mr Cameron is meeting US defence secretary Leon Panetta, who was already in London on other business, in Downing Street for talks about the crisis before chairing another meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra.
Two unnamed British men who were said to have been in the compound during the siege have given interviews on Algerian television about their experience.
"I think they did a fantastic job," one man said. "I was very impressed with the Algerian army. It was a very exciting episode. I feel sorry for anybody who has been hurt but, other than that, I enjoyed it." A second man said: "I never really felt in any danger, to be honest."