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U.S. confirms three citizens dead in Algeria hostage crisis


13:06, January 22, 2013

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. State Department on Monday confirmed that three American citizens were killed in the deadly hostage crisis at a gas field in Algeria last week.

In a written statement, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland identified the three dead as Victor Lynn Lovelady, Gordon Lee Rowan and Frederick Buttaccio.

"We extend our deepest condolences to their families and friends," Nuland said. But she did not provide further details of the three deceased, citing "respect for the families' privacy."

Nuland also disclosed that seven U.S. citizens survived the kidnapping, but failed to give more details.

Al-Qaeda affiliated militants on Wednesday kidnapped hundreds of Algerian and foreign workers at a gas complex near In Amenas in eastern Algeria, in a bid to avenge Algeria's support for French involvement in the conflict in neighboring Mali.

Algerian troops have launched successive raids on the gas complex since Thursday in an attempt to rescue the hostages, with the final assault Saturday ending the four-day siege.

Algerian Prime Minister Abdel Malek Sellal said Monday that 36 foreign hostages from eight countries along with an Algerian worker were killed, and another five remain missing following the hostage crisis.

"As the President said, 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," Nuland said.

She vowed that the United States would work with the Algerian government to gain a "fuller understanding" of the attack and work together to combat these terrorist threats.

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