Three Americans killed in Algeria hostage crisis
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Three Americans were killed in the hostage crisis at an Algerian gas facility while seven others survived, the U.S. State Department confirmed on Monday.
Department spokesman Victoria Nuland identified the dead victims as Victor Lynn Lovelady, Gordon Lee Rowan, and Frederick Buttaccio during a press conference. She extended condolences to the families of the fatalities.
Nuland did not identify the seven survivors.
Buttaccio was a resident of Katy, Texas and worked for the British energy giant BP, which is one of the operators of the gas facility at Tiguentourine near Algeria’s eastern border with Libya.
Rowan, 59, was a resident of Sumpter, Oregon while Lovelady, 58, was a mother of two from Nederland, Texas.
Nuland blamed a multinational gang of terrorists for the death of the Americans and dozens of other foreigners taken hostage last week.
“We will continue to work closely with the government of Algeria to gain a fuller understanding of the terrorist attack of last week and how we can work together moving forward to combat such threats in the future,” she said.
Meanwhile, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalik Sellal said 37 foreign hostages from eight different countries and 11 Algerian workers at the gas facility were killed during the rescue operation that started Thursday and ended on Saturday.
Sellal said that 25 hostages were found alive and five other remain missing after the rescue operation by Algeria’s military. Earlier, 685 Algerian workers and 107 foreigners were freed.
Three kidnappers were captured alive while 32 of their companions were killed during the rescue operation. The kidnappers are from Tunisia, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Canada and Mauritania, Sellal said.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, leader of the kidnappers and the al-Qaeda-linked group called Signatories in Blood, had admitted responsibility for the hostage taking.In a video posted online, he said the attack on the gas facility was in retaliation for Algeria’s role in French airstrikes on rebels in northern Mali.. Belmokhtar faulted Algeria’s military for the deaths of hostages.