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Algeria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: At Least 81 Killed in Gas Plant Siege

See also Syria Live Coverage: The Battle for Idlib Begins?
Sunday's Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: Gas Plant Siege Ends with 23 Hostages, 32 Attackers Killed

1652 GMT: Yemen. A US drone strike has killed two suspected insurgents and wounded three others, two of them seriously, according to security officials.

The airstrike, which hit a car east of the capital Sanaa, was the third in the same area since Saturday and the 25th in Yemen since 24 December.

On Saturday, two drone strikes killed eight people in Marib Province.

1552 GMT: Algeria. A US official has said that three American hostages died in the In Amenas gas plant, while seven were freed.

1455 GMT: Algeria. Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal has said that the death toll at the In Amenas gas plant was 66 --- 37 foreign staff and 29 attackers. Seven hostages are still missing and three captors have been taken alive by Algerian forces.

The Prime Minister said the Government ordered the final operation to seize the plant on Saturday after it intercepted an order by a "commander" of the attackers to kill the hostages. He said one of the two Canadian nationals among the attackers was co-ordinating their operations.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has confirmed that seven Japanese citizens were killed in the hostage crisis, with three missing. The men worked for a Japanese engineering company, JGC Corp.

1315 GMT: Algeria. The Mauritanian news agency ANI has posted a claimed statement from the Mulathameen Brigade of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, which carried out last week's attack on the In Amenas gas plant.

The statement described the raid, saying they deliberately kept foreign staff of the plant and released Algerians and other Muslims. The group claimed that the Algerian military undermined their offer for negotiations, with snipers shooting dead two hostages and helicopters attacking the facility and a convoy moving hostages to a safer location.

Condemning "the Algerian regime’s chicanery and the illusion of the Western states", the Brigade warned of further strikes if the French and other states did not halt military operations in northern Mali.

1205 GMT: Mali. French and Malian Government troops have entered the town of Diabaly in central Mali, seized by insurgents more than a week ago.

A convoy of about 30 armoured vehicles carrying some 200 French and Malian soldiers moved into the town on Monday morning, without meeting resistance.

After insurgents took Diabaly, 350 kilometres (about 220 miles) north of the capital Bamako, French forces launched airstrikes, reportedly driving the Islamist fighters out of the town.

1105 GMT: Israel-Palestine. The Israeli army has removed a camp of four tents and a building under construction on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, northwest of Jerusalem. They evicted about 20 Palestinians.

Activists had hoped to build a new village, Bab al-Karamah, on the site. Another village in the area, Bab al-Shams, was dismantled by the Israeli military last week on the orders of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Both villages were in the E1 zone, where the Israeli Government supports the construction of Jewish settlements.

1045 GMT: Mali. The French military said it carried out a dozen operations with fighter planes and helicopter gunships over the weekend.

Officials said they had targeted "terrorist vehicles" in six of the strikes over the last 24 hours. Forces have extended their deployment northward from the central town of Markala, reinforcing their presence in the towns of Niono and Mopti, according to Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French military spokesman.

Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian told France 5 television, "The goal is the total reconquest of Mali. We will not leave any pockets (of resistance)."

0725 GMT: Bahrain. The regime's news agency proclaims that the Minister of Interior has hosted an Arab Police Scientific Forum on the theme, "Human Rights Practices in Security Agencies".

There is no reference in the article to the police suppression of mass protests from February 2011, including documentation of abuses by Bahrain's security services.

Instead the article proclaims, "[Minister of Interior] Lt. Gen Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa stressed the importance of the forum which discusses key issues, highlighting Islamic precepts which protect all people's rights on equal footing, beyond any discrimination."

0710 GMT: Algeria. The Philippines Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said six Filipinos are among the hostages killed in the In Amenas gas plant.

0530 GMT: Algeria. More than 36 hours after the end of the attack and siege of the In Amenas gas plant, the death toll and the course of events were far from clear.

Algerian sources said Sunday night that the casualties had risen to at least 81 dead, with de-mining teams and troops finding bodies as they cleared the complex. There were conflicting reports, however, on how many of those discovered were foreign hostages and how many were captors --- or even, given the state of the bodies, if this could be determined. Nor, in the wider context of events, it is established how many of the 81 died in the initial attack by the gunmen --- linked to the alleged smuggler, drug-runner, and kidnapper Mokhtar Belmokthar --- how many perished when Algerian aircraft hit a convoy, and how many were killed in the final operation by Algerian forces.

Individual statements offered some information. British Prime Minister David Cameron said early on Sunday that three British nationals were confirmed dead and three nationals and a British permanent residential were believed to have died. A hospital source said at least 12 Japanese citizens were in the morgue, a figure supported by a statement from a Japanese official.

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