French PM says Algeria hostage rescue still under way

PARIS Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:31am EST

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PARIS Jan 18 (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Friday the Algerian government had told him an operation to rescue hostages held by Islamist militants at a gas complex in Algeria was still ongoing at mid-morning.

"I have just this very moment spoken to the Algerian prime minister who confirmed to me that the operation is ongoing," Ayrault said, adding that he was also in constant contact with the governments of other affected countries.

"The death of several hostages is to be deplored," Ayrault told journalists in a New Year speech.

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