Thirty hostages killed in Algeria on Jan. 16, 2013 included eight Algerians, two Britons, one Japanese and one Frenchman among others. According to reports, the hostages may have been used as human shields when troops raided an Amenas natural gas facility, where the hostages were being held, in a botched rescue attempt. A report by The Daily Mail said that Algerian forces were involved in a gun battle with Al Qaeda terrorists at the site, and the dead may actually number as high as 35.
The confrontation that resulted in at least 30 hostages killed is particularly troubling because British Prime Minister David Cameron had warned the Algerian Prime Minister just one night earlier to "proceed with caution." The directive was ignored, and offers of assistance from American special forces and the British Army Special Air Service Regiment went unused. Neither the U.S. nor the U.K. was advised prior to the raid.
The decision to step up the rescue attempt without waiting for backup from the United States or Great Britain was reportedly made because the terrorists had begun executing hostages. The hostages were reportedly being held as retaliation for Algeria permitting French attack jets into their airspace.
The Amenas natural gas facility that was the site of the incident is partly controlled by British Petroleum. According to CNN, nearly 600 workers at the facility were freed after the rescue while an unknown number of others remain hostages. Several Americans are believed to be among the hostages.
The tragedy of the 30 hostages killed in Algeria cannot be overstated. Condolences to the families of the victims.