RealNews

Algerian Assault To Free Tourists Imminent–Papers

Algeria’s armed forces chief flew down to the Sahara desert to oversee efforts to free 15 European holidaymakers as an assault against armed rebels holding them appeared imminent, newspapers said on Tuesday. The fate of the 10 Germans, four Swiss and one Dutchman was thrown into confusion on Monday when the armed forces denied initial reports that the hostages, held for up to three months, had been freed. The armed forces said all efforts continued to be made to liberate the tourists believed to be held by the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), a hardline Islamist militant group relatively unknown abroad. “An assault is being prepared,” said the influential daily El Watan. Several Algerian dailies said Armed Forces chief of staff lieutenant-general Mohammed Lamari visited on Sunday his troops in the province of Illizi, 1,200 km (750 miles) south of the capital Algiers, near where the hostages are believed held. El Watan said a rescue operation by elite forces was only hours away while the largest Arab-language newspaper El Khabar said a green light to attack had conditionally been given. Full Story

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