Hostage rescue is always risky

The emerging narrative on the Algerian hostage crisis so far seems to be one of the Algerian military going ahead with a high-stakes, high-risk assault to retake the gas complex seized by militants and free the hostages. Foreign governments, including that of the U.S., have been critical of the operation; Japan openly called for the […]

By Max Fisher January 17, 2013

Belmokhtar’s December video

As part of our ongoing look into the life and ideology of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the 40-year-old Algerian Islamist fighter who is believed to have masterminded today’s hostage crisis, here is the summary of a video he released in December. These videos are a common ideological currency in the jihadist community, a way to talk ideology, […]

By Max Fisher January 17, 2013

Report: ‘Firing from helicopters’

A lengthy ABC News report on the Algerian military operation quotes a British "security source" portraying the attack as reckless. The report is datelined from the Algerian capital: A British security source, citing a contact close to the scene, told CBS News "that the Algerians were firing from helicopters at anything that moved," but could […]

By Max Fisher January 17, 2013

Report on alleged deaths

Reuters has what it says are the numbers and nationalities of people killed in the Algerian military raid on the gas complex. It cites only a "source" for the information, which has not been confirmed by other outlets -- we should consider this only preliminary and unconfirmed. The information is on the Reuters liveblog but […]

By Max Fisher January 17, 2013

Jihadist politics of Algeria

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the 40-year-old Algerian Islamist fighter who is believed to have masterminded today's hostage crisis, has a complicated history with the region's jihadist movements. Once a senior official with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a regional group that has carried the al-Qaeda name since 2006, he now leads his own group. Harvey Morris of […]

By Max Fisher January 17, 2013

David Cameron’s statement

Here is the full transcript of British Prime Minister David Cameron's statement on the Algerian crisis, now a few hours old. Talk about ominous: he seems to be preparing Britons for the worst. Cameron: We face a very bad situation at this BP compound in Algeria. A number of British citizens have been taken hostage. […]

By Max Fisher January 17, 2013

Report on American hostages

This comes from ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz, who is currently traveling with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. This report is preliminary; don't be surprised if later reports contradict this one. U.S. officials have already complained publicly about being kept in the dark on the Algerian raid. Also keep in mind that we do not […]

By Max Fisher January 17, 2013

Algeria takes some heat

The U.S., British, and Japanese government are all expressing some real displeasure with the Algerian government for going ahead with a dice-rolling raid on the gas facility without warning them first. It also sounds as if they don't feel Algeria has been terribly forthcoming with information. Here's Al Jazeera English: Several countries whose nationals were […]

By Max Fisher January 17, 2013

Reuters: military raid is over?

Reuters quotes Algeria's official news agency as announcing that the military raid on the gas complex had ended. The report – sourced to a state-run news agency quoting an anonymous official – has not been independently confirmed. It's not clear whether or not we are meant to understand this as implying that the military has […]

By Max Fisher January 17, 2013

First reports on Algerian raid

The Algerian military has assaulted the gas field in an operation that, according to an Algerian government statement over the radio, has rescued some hostages but resulted in some deaths as well. These reports, which appear in the New York Times. Wall Street Journal, and Reuters are preliminary and have not been confirmed by sources […]

By Max Fisher January 17, 2013