Cameron: Fewer Britons at risk in hostage crisis

The number of British nationals caught up in the hostage crisis in Algeria has been "significantly reduced". Last night it was reported that around 30 were believed to be "at risk".

Addressing the Commons this morning David Cameron condemned what he called the "brutal and savage" attack at the In Amenas site, in which at least one Briton has been died.

We were not informed of this in advance. I was told by the Algerian prime minister while it was taking place.

He said that the terrorists had tried to flee, that they judged there to be an immediate threat to the lives of the hostages and had felt obliged to respond."

This is a large and complex site and they are still pursuing terrorists and possibly some of the hostages in other areas of the site.

The Algerian prime minister has just told me this morning that they are now looking at all possible routes to resolving this crisis.

Last night the number of British citizens at risk was less than 30. Thankfully, we now know that number has been quite significantly reduced.

– David Cameron

The Prime Minister said he would do everything possible to find the people responsible.

  • Mr Cameron said each of the families of those caught up in the crisis had been assigned a police liaison officer and is being kept fully updated of developments
  • BP, the joint operator of the gas plant, has also begun evacuating staff from Algeria, with 11 being flown back to London yesterday
  • The Government is providing a back-up service to fill any "gaps in what BP are able to do" and all installations in Algeria have been placed on "high alert"

You can read the transcript of his statement on the Downing Street website.

In a separate statement this morning BP said a small number of its employees were unaccounted for. A fourth plane is expected to transport staff out of the country today.

David Cameron in the Commons today
David Cameron in the Commons today Credit: Press Association

Labour leader Ed Miliband said those behind the events should know Britain and the international community "stand united in condemnation".

The US defence secretary Leon Panetta opened his speech to an audience in London today by warning terrorists in Algeria that there was "no place to hide".

He said that American authorities were working closely with Britain and other nations "to assess precisely what was happening on the ground."