The energy company BP is now pulling non-essential personnel from Algeria in the midst of an ongoing hostage crisis that so far has resulted in the death of at least 34 captives:
ALERT: BP is withdrawing non-essential workers from Algeria, says situation remains unclear, seeking updates.-- CNBC (@CNBC) January 17, 2013
The Atlantic Wire's Dashiell Bennett is tracking new developments in real time, but here's what news reports generally agree upon: shortly after 4 a.m. GMT on Wednesday the 16th, militants attacked a gas plant operated by the energy giant BP, taking 41 foreign workers hostage as well as hundreds of Algerians. Some have managed to escape on their own; others were reported accidentally killed by Algerian forces in a military operation that took place early this morning Eastern time.
In Washington, policymakers are still trying to figure out how to respond. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called the incident a "terrorist attack." Michigan congressman Mike Rogers, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, told Politico that the militants behind the Algeria crisis will only become more threatening if the United States doesn't deal with them "swiftly and effectively."