Twenty-five foreign hostages escape Algeria siege: source

ALGIERS Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:55am EST

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ALGIERS (Reuters) - Twenty-five foreign hostages, including two Japanese, escaped from the siege of a gas plant deep in the Algerian desert on Thursday, an Algerian security source said.

A group calling itself the "Batallion of Blood" has said it was holding 41 foreigners inside the gas compound, which it stormed on Wednesday, demanding France halt a military campaign against Islamist rebels in neighboring Mali.

(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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