Islamist militants from Mali attacked a natural gas field in southern Algeria early today, killing a security guard and kidnapping at least eight foreign workers.
Seven others were wounded in the attack. Ireland has announced that one of the hostages is Irish. Seven are said to be British.
BP, Norwegian company Statoil and Algerian state oil company Sonatrach operate the gas field, while Japanese company JGC provides services for the facility.
Algerian forces had caught up with and surrounded the kidnappers and negotiations for the release of the hostages were continuing as the Morning Star went to press.
A group called Katibat Moulathamine, or the Masked Brigade, claimed that it had carried out the operation in the Ain Amenas gas field.
A caller to the Nouakchott Information Agency did not give any further details, except that the kidnapping had been carried out by a group created to attack the interests of countries participating in the offensive against Islamist groups in northern Mali.