Islamist militants took a group of people hostage at a foreign-operated gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, reportedly including several Americans, in retaliation to an escalating French intervention in neighboring Mali, the New York Times reports:
Estimates on the number of hostages varied widely, with some unconfirmed news reports asserting that as many as 41 people, including several Americans, had been abducted from the site in In Amenas, near the Libyan border. Several others were wounded, and at least two deaths were reported. Algerian security forces were dispatched to the area, the Interior Ministry of Algeria said in a statement.
A Japanese official confirmed that Japanese nationals were involved, and the Irish Foreign Ministry said one Irish citizen had been kidnapped.