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55 killed in Algeria hostage crisis

The Algerian government says 32 militants and 23 captives were killed during the three-day military operation to end the hostage crisis at a natural gas plant in the Sahara.

The provisional death toll was issued by the Algerian Interior Ministry on Saturday after the special forces operation crushed the last holdout of the militants at the gas refinery, resulting in 11 extremists killed along with seven hostages.

A total of 685 Algerian and 107 foreign workers were freed over the course of the stand-off, which began on Wednesday, the statement added.

The military also confiscated machine guns, rocket launchers, missiles and grenades attached to suicide belts from the In Amenas plant.

The ministry added that the militants involved consisted of 32 men of various nationalities, including three Algerians.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama says the US stands ready to provide whatever assistance officials need in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Algeria.

Mr Obama said that the blame rests with the terrorists who carried out the attacks and that the US condemns their actions.

The President says the thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the families of all those who were killed and injured in the terrorist attack.

He says that the US will continue to work closely with all its partners to combat what he called "the scourge of terrorism in the region".

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