Jan 20 - More bodies are found following a hostage crisis at a remote Algerian gas plant as France defends the handling of the crisis by local officials. Andrew Raven reports.
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While the hostage crisis is over, the death toll continues to rise at this remote Algerian gas plant.
At least 23 hostages - including several foreigners - died during a daring raid by Islamist militants that began last week.
Government officials now say the final toll will likely be higher, and an Algerian tv station said 25 bodies were recently found inside the plant.
With so much blood shed French foreign minister Laurent Fabius defended Algeria's handling of the crisis.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER LAURENT FABIUS SAYING:
"Very many terrorists attacked this gas plant and they are all killers. They pillage, rape, plunder and kill. So the situation was very difficult."
It was the latest violence to break out in northwestern Africa, which has become a hotbed of Islamic militancy.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said insurgent groups in the region should be handled with an iron fist.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON
"It requires a response that is patient and painstaking and tough but also intelligent. But above all has an absolutely iron resolve. And that is what we will deliver over these coming years."
He called for an international effort to combat al Qaeda-linked groups in the area.