'Thirty-five hostages killed in Algerian helicopter attack on BP gas plant siege': Two Brits feared dead, but some captives including Americans and Irish have escaped

  • Helicopters 'began strafing' complex, also killing 15 militants, claim rebels
  • Militants had earlier threatened to blow up the hostages if they intervened
  • Al-Qaeda group also demand safe passage out of facility with the hostages
  • Two British nationals and Algerian are believed to have been killed in siege
  • Britain will allow Algeria to 'take the lead', but will consider request for help
  • PM Cameron: 'Extent of attack suggests considerable degree of planning'
  • Attack was planned by 'one-eyed Islamist known as The Uncatchable'

    An oil worker from Belfast has escaped the bloodbath at BP's Algerian gas plant where up to 35 foreign hostages were killed in a helicopter strike by government force, it emerged today.

    Fifteen al-Qaeda insurgents are also thought to have died at the remote Saharan site after Algerian forces strafed the plant this morning, hours after the rebels had threatened to blow up the hostages if they intervened.

    Islamic militants, acting in revenge for France's assault on al-Qaeda rebels in neighbouring Mali, said 35 captives including Britons and Americans were killed in the attack.

    But amid conflicting reports, a source in the town said just six foreign hostages and eight of their captors were killed, while 25 captives including Americans and Europeans managed to escape.

    One of those was a 36-year-old married man from Belfast who made contact with his family at around 3pm after being freed.

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