LONDON Jan 18 U.S. Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta said on Friday militants who attacked the United States
and its citizens will hunted down, in the first comments by a
senior U.S. official on a hostage attack by Islamist militants
He said the U.S. government was working around the clock to
ensure the safe return of its citizens caught up in the Algeria
A U.S. plane landed on Friday at an airport near a desert
gas plant in Algeria where Islamist gunmen took hundreds of
hostages to evacuate Americans caught up in the crisis, a local
"Regardless of the motivation of the hostage takers, there
is no justification, no justification for the kidnapping and
murder of innocent people," Panetta said during a visit to
London, adding that the United States was in close touch with
the Algerian government about the crisis.
"Terrorists should be on notice that they will find no
sanctuary, no refuge, not in Algeria, not in North Africa, not
anywhere. Those who would wantonly attack our country and our
people will have no place to hide," he said.
U.S. officials had no clear information on the fate of
Americans, though a U.S. military drone had flown over the gas
complex where hostage crisis unfolded.