And the Algerians are tired of screwing with them.
With few details emerging from the remote site of the gas plant in eastern Algeria, it was unclear whether anyone was rescued in the final operation, but the number of hostages killed Saturday – seven – was how many the militants had said that morning they still had.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday that three Britons were killed and another three are believed dead, along with a foreigner who was living in Britain. He said that 22 Britons who survived the ordeal are now back in Britain.
“Now, of course, people will ask questions about the Algerian response to these events, but I would just say that the responsibility for these deaths lies squarely with the terrorists who launched a vicious and cowardly attack,” Cameron said.
The siege at Ain Amenas transfixed the world after radical Islamists linked to al-Qaida stormed the complex on Wednesday, which contained hundreds of plant workers from all over the world, then held them hostage surrounded by the Algerian military and its attack helicopters for four tense days that were punctuated with gun battles and dramatic tales of escape.
Algeria’s response to the crisis was typical of its history in confronting terrorists, favoring military action over negotiation, which caused an international outcry from countries worried about their citizens. Algerian military forces twice assaulted the two areas where the hostages were being held with minimal apparent mediation – first on Thursday, then on Saturday.
“To avoid a bloody turn of events in response to the extreme danger of the situation, the army’s special forces launched an intervention with efficiency and professionalism to neutralize the terrorist groups that were first trying to flee with the hostages and then blow up the gas facilities,” Algeria’s Interior Ministry said in a statement about the standoff.
Now I mourn for the loss of life. It is maddening to see terrorists moving around freely. But, the truth is life is a risk, that area of the world is VERY risky. And it is bullshit that 32 bad guys can overrun a big installation filled with people who don’t want to be taken hostage or killed, which leads me to think they were unarmed. That would be something which would prevent me from going there. If I can’t bring the big dog, I ain’t going.