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Algeria toll rises as attack claimed for al Qaeda

Smoke rises above following demining operations at the In Amenas gas plant January 20, 2013. Algeria said on Sunday it expected heavy hostage casualties after its troops ended a desert siege, but Western governments warned against criticising tactics used by their vital ally in the struggle with Islamists across the Sahara. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Smoke rises above following demining operations at the In Amenas gas plant January 20, 2013. Algeria said on Sunday it expected heavy hostage casualties after its troops ended a desert siege, but Western governments warned against criticising tactics...more

Smoke rises above following demining operations at the In Amenas gas plant January 20, 2013. Algeria said on Sunday it expected heavy hostage casualties after its troops ended a desert siege, but Western governments warned against criticising tactics used by their vital ally in the struggle with Islamists across the Sahara. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi
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Veteran jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar is seen in a still image taken from Mauritanian news website Sahara Media at an unidentified location on January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Sahara Media website via Reuters TV

Veteran jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar is seen in a still image taken from Mauritanian news website Sahara Media at an unidentified location on January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Sahara Media website via Reuters TV

Veteran jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar is seen in a still image taken from Mauritanian news website Sahara Media at an unidentified location on January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Sahara Media website via Reuters TV
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The gas plant and the town of In Amenas in Algeria is seen in this image taken by the SPOT 6 satellite, build and operated by Astrium, on January 8, 2013 released to Reuters by Astrium on January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Astrium/Handout

The gas plant and the town of In Amenas in Algeria is seen in this image taken by the SPOT 6 satellite, build and operated by Astrium, on January 8, 2013 released to Reuters by Astrium on January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Astrium/Handout

The gas plant and the town of In Amenas in Algeria is seen in this image taken by the SPOT 6 satellite, build and operated by Astrium, on January 8, 2013 released to Reuters by Astrium on January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Astrium/Handout
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Hostages are seen with their hands in the air at the In Amenas gas facility in this still image received January 19, 2013 and taken from video footage on January 16 or January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ennahar TV via Reuters TV

Hostages are seen with their hands in the air at the In Amenas gas facility in this still image received January 19, 2013 and taken from video footage on January 16 or January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ennahar TV via Reuters TV

Hostages are seen with their hands in the air at the In Amenas gas facility in this still image received January 19, 2013 and taken from video footage on January 16 or January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ennahar TV via Reuters TV
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Hostages are seen with their hands in the air at the In Amenas gas facility in this still image taken from video footage taken on January 16 or January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ennahar TV via Reuters TV

Hostages are seen with their hands in the air at the In Amenas gas facility in this still image taken from video footage taken on January 16 or January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ennahar TV via Reuters TV

Hostages are seen with their hands in the air at the In Amenas gas facility in this still image taken from video footage taken on January 16 or January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ennahar TV via Reuters TV
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Hostages are seen sitting against the wall of a building at the In Amenas gas facility in this still image received January 19, 2013 and taken from video footage on January 16 or January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ennahar TV via Reuters TV

Hostages are seen sitting against the wall of a building at the In Amenas gas facility in this still image received January 19, 2013 and taken from video footage on January 16 or January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ennahar TV via Reuters TV

Hostages are seen sitting against the wall of a building at the In Amenas gas facility in this still image received January 19, 2013 and taken from video footage on January 16 or January 17, 2013. REUTERS/Ennahar TV via Reuters TV
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An Algerian soldier is seen at the checkpoint near the road indicating 10 km to the Tiguentourine gas plant, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

An Algerian soldier is seen at the checkpoint near the road indicating 10 km to the Tiguentourine gas plant, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

An Algerian soldier is seen at the checkpoint near the road indicating 10 km to the Tiguentourine gas plant, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi
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An Algerian soldier stands at a checkpoint near a road sign indicating 10 km (6 miles) to a gas installation in Tigantourine (sometimes spelled Tiguentourine), the site where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage according to the Algerian interior ministry, in Amena January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

An Algerian soldier stands at a checkpoint near a road sign indicating 10 km (6 miles) to a gas installation in Tigantourine (sometimes spelled Tiguentourine), the site where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage according to the...more

An Algerian soldier stands at a checkpoint near a road sign indicating 10 km (6 miles) to a gas installation in Tigantourine (sometimes spelled Tiguentourine), the site where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage according to the Algerian interior ministry, in Amena January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina
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An Algerian soldier is seen at a checkpoint near the road, 10 km to the Tiguentourine gas plant, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

An Algerian soldier is seen at a checkpoint near the road, 10 km to the Tiguentourine gas plant, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

An Algerian soldier is seen at a checkpoint near the road, 10 km to the Tiguentourine gas plant, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi
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Freed Algerian (C) and Cameroon (L) hostages are seen at the police station in In Amenas January 19 , 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Freed Algerian (C) and Cameroon (L) hostages are seen at the police station in In Amenas January 19 , 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Freed Algerian (C) and Cameroon (L) hostages are seen at the police station in In Amenas January 19 , 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi
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An Algerian military helicopter flies over Amenas city, south east of Algiers, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

An Algerian military helicopter flies over Amenas city, south east of Algiers, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

An Algerian military helicopter flies over Amenas city, south east of Algiers, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi
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A truck passes by a road sign indicating the Tiguentourine gas plant, about 130 km from the Algerian and Libyan border, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

A truck passes by a road sign indicating the Tiguentourine gas plant, about 130 km from the Algerian and Libyan border, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

A truck passes by a road sign indicating the Tiguentourine gas plant, about 130 km from the Algerian and Libyan border, where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage, January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi
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CEO of Statoil Helge Lund answers questions from reporters at a drop-in center in Bergen January 19, 2013, during a visit to relatives of Statoil employees taken hostage in Algeria. REUTERS/Anette Karlsen/NTB Scanpix

CEO of Statoil Helge Lund answers questions from reporters at a drop-in center in Bergen January 19, 2013, during a visit to relatives of Statoil employees taken hostage in Algeria. REUTERS/Anette Karlsen/NTB Scanpix

CEO of Statoil Helge Lund answers questions from reporters at a drop-in center in Bergen January 19, 2013, during a visit to relatives of Statoil employees taken hostage in Algeria. REUTERS/Anette Karlsen/NTB Scanpix
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An Algerian soldier stands at a checkpoint near a road sign indicating 10 km (6 miles) to a gas installation in Tigantourine (sometimes spelled Tiguentourine), the site where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage according to the Algerian interior ministry, in Amena January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

An Algerian soldier stands at a checkpoint near a road sign indicating 10 km (6 miles) to a gas installation in Tigantourine (sometimes spelled Tiguentourine), the site where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage according to the...more

An Algerian soldier stands at a checkpoint near a road sign indicating 10 km (6 miles) to a gas installation in Tigantourine (sometimes spelled Tiguentourine), the site where Islamist militants have been holding foreigners hostage according to the Algerian interior ministry, in Amena January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina
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The Amenas Gas Field in Algeria is seen in this October 8, 2012 handout image courtesy of DigitalGlobe. REUTERS/DigitalGlobe/Handout

The Amenas Gas Field in Algeria is seen in this October 8, 2012 handout image courtesy of DigitalGlobe. REUTERS/DigitalGlobe/Handout

The Amenas Gas Field in Algeria is seen in this October 8, 2012 handout image courtesy of DigitalGlobe. REUTERS/DigitalGlobe/Handout
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Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (R) is embraced by Statoil's Executive Vice-President Margrethe Oevrum at a drop-in center in Bergen January 19, 2013, during his visit to relatives of Statoil employees taken hostage in Algeria. REUTERS/Anette Karlsen/NTB Scanpix

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (R) is embraced by Statoil's Executive Vice-President Margrethe Oevrum at a drop-in center in Bergen January 19, 2013, during his visit to relatives of Statoil employees taken hostage in Algeria. REUTERS/Anette...more

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (R) is embraced by Statoil's Executive Vice-President Margrethe Oevrum at a drop-in center in Bergen January 19, 2013, during his visit to relatives of Statoil employees taken hostage in Algeria. REUTERS/Anette Karlsen/NTB Scanpix
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Algerian Gendarme escort a freed Norwegian hostage (R) at the police station in In Amenas January 19 , 2013. The Algerian army on Saturday carried out a final assault on al Qaeda-linked gunmen holed up in a desert gas plant, killing 11 of the Islamists after they took the lives of seven more foreign hostages, a local source and the state news agency said. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Algerian Gendarme escort a freed Norwegian hostage (R) at the police station in In Amenas January 19 , 2013. The Algerian army on Saturday carried out a final assault on al Qaeda-linked gunmen holed up in a desert gas plant, killing 11 of the...more

Algerian Gendarme escort a freed Norwegian hostage (R) at the police station in In Amenas January 19 , 2013. The Algerian army on Saturday carried out a final assault on al Qaeda-linked gunmen holed up in a desert gas plant, killing 11 of the Islamists after they took the lives of seven more foreign hostages, a local source and the state news agency said. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi
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File photo of the gas field in Amenas, Algeria in this handout photo provided by Scanpix April 19, 2005. REUTERS/Kjetil Alsvik/Statoil via Scanpix

File photo of the gas field in Amenas, Algeria in this handout photo provided by Scanpix April 19, 2005. REUTERS/Kjetil Alsvik/Statoil via Scanpix

File photo of the gas field in Amenas, Algeria in this handout photo provided by Scanpix April 19, 2005. REUTERS/Kjetil Alsvik/Statoil via Scanpix
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