FEARS remain for the safety of British workers caught up in the terrorist attack on an Algerian gasfield after the Government said the incident was “ongoing”.
At least one British national has been killed in the desert siege and Prime Minister David Cameron warned that the nation “should be prepared for bad news”.
The Algerian authorities announced that there had been “some deaths and injuries” after launching a military bid, without informing the UK, to free foreign workers from Islamist militants.
Algeria’s state news agency APS claimed the crisis ended last night but the Foreign Office said the incident is still ongoing.
Mr Cameron will make a statement to the Commons at 11am, to update MPs on the latest developments at the gasfield at In Amenas after chairing a meeting of the Cobra emergencies committee.
Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is cutting short a visit to Australia, told Sky News: “This remains a fluid and evolving situation and many details are still unclear, but the responsibility for the tragic events of the last two days squarely rests with terrorists who chose to attack innocent workers, murdering some and holding others hostage.
“Our priority remains at the moment to identify exactly what has happened to each British national caught up in this incident and, indeed, to help other countries determine what has happened to their nationals.”
The Algerian rescue effort was launched yesterday without consultation with the UK, to the dismay of Number 10.
Mr Cameron was informed that it was under way when he telephoned his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmalek Sellal, yesterday morning despite having earlier asked to be kept fully updated.
Offers of British help had been declined.