North East men freed in Algeria

It has been confirmed that workers from the North East were involved in a hostage situation in Algeria where gas workers were taken hostage by Islamic militants. Three men from the region were freed last week.

Latest ITV News reports

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Escaped worker: 'Thoughts with colleagues still there'

Two more British workers said to have escaped the siege have also spoken to Algerian state television.

One man said:

I feel safe at the moment but I won't feel 100% happy until I'm back in the UK

My heart goes out to the guys that are still there and hopefully everyone comes home safe because, at the end of the day, it's only work.

Another man said he was "very relieved" to be out.

He added: "As much as I'm glad to be out my thoughts are with colleagues that are still there at the moment."

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Gas workers are "pawns in militants' struggle"

The fate of at least one gas worker from the North East remains unknown, after they become caught up in the Algerian hostage crisis.

However, the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, says that a number of Scottish hostages are now 'safe and well.'

An operation by the Algerian military is still ongoing at the gas plant in the Sahara desert that was siezed by armed terrorists on Wednesday.

Its joint owner, BP, says a small number of its employees are still unaccounted for.

This expert from Durham University says the workers have become pawns in the militants' struggle with Arab and western governments.

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National

Algerian Govt: Hostages killed in operation

Algeria's government spokesman has confirmed that some hostages have been killed in a continuing military operation at a desert gas plant, Reuters reports.

In the first official government comments on the day's events, Communication Minister Mohamed Said that troops had been forced to act after talks with the captors failed.

The operation at the In Amenas gas field is still ongoing
The operation at the In Amenas gas field is still ongoing Credit: Reuters

However, he was quoted as telling state news agency APS that there had been "several deaths and injuries" among the hostages.

National

Hague: Number of British nationals held in Algeria

The Foreign Secretary William Hague has given an update on the hostage situation at a gas facility in Algeria.

He said: "A number of people are being held hostage there, this does include a number of British nationals and this is therefore an extremely dangerous situation.

"We're in close touch with the Algerian government, the Algerian military have deployed to the area and the Prime Minister has spoken to the Prime Minister of Algeria."

"A rapid deployment team from the Foreign Office has been sent in order to reinforce our Embassy and consulate staff there."

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