While hard news is still scarce at this time, a day after it started, the hostage crisis at the Algerian gas plant in Ain Amenas has escalated to another level with some sort of raid having been conducted by the Algerian military, and an indeterminate number of hostages (both Algerian and foreign) and some of the hostage-takers arereported as having been killed.
Even in this era of virtually instant communications, there has been an incredible amount of confusion over this whole incident: the exact number and nationalities of the hostages has, apparently, never been accurately established: details of the "escape" or release of some of them have not been confirmed, all that is known (at this time: (13:30 ET Thurs 17 Jan) about the raid is thatit has taken place, and that people are dead, and that the situation is still, to a large degree, fluid.
Violence, as usual, has begotten more violence: we can only hope and pray that this awful situation will get resolved with as little bloodshed as possible.
[UPDATE] Al-Jazeera (via Reuters) reports that the "operation" at the In Amenas gas plant has been concluded, with, sadly, a number of casualties. As typical for this whole mess, hard numbers are lacking, butBBC reports that four foreign hostages were killed, more (indeterminate) have been freed, and that there have been casualties among the attacking militants as well (though not enumerated, either).