Jan 21 2013
David Cameron is to update MPs on the aftermath of the Algerian hostage crisis as officials worked to establish the fate of the final missing British workers from the BP gas plant.
Three British nationals are now known to have died in the four-day siege, which finally ended on Saturday, and three more are believed to be dead. A UK resident is also thought to have died.
The first of the British victims to be officially named was 46-year-old Paul Morgan, reported to be a former Foreign Legion soldier and Gulf War veteran who was in charge of security at the In Amenas plant.
Others were reported to be Scot Kenneth Whiteside, a 59-year-old from Glenrothes, Fife, who lived in Johannesburg with his wife and two daughters, and Garry Barlow, 49, a married father of two from Liverpool who was a system supervisor for BP at the In Amenas plant. Carlos Estrada, a Colombian executive for BP who lived in Chelsea, west London, is also reported to have died.
On Sunday night, the Algerian authorities warned that the confirmed toll of 23 hostages killed at the remote In Amenas facility was set to rise sharply.
Bomb squads searching for booby-trap devices left by the Islamist militants discovered 25 bodies, some so badly disfigured they could not be identified. Thirty-two terrorists also died and there were reports last night that five others had been captured alive.
The veteran jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar sent a video to a Mauritanian-based news website in which he claimed one of his cells, known as "Those Who Sign In Blood", was responsible for the attack. In the video - which was said to have been recorded while the siege was still going on and was not posted on the Sahara Media website - he offered to negotiate with Algeria and the West if they halted the bombing of Muslims in Mali.
Foreign Secretary William Hague branded the militants "cold-blooded murderers" and said reports they had "executed" seven of their hostages before the final battle could well be true.
Mr Cameron said the attack was a "stark reminder" of the continuing threat from international terrorism and vowed to use Britain's presidency of the G8 to ensure the issue was right at the top of the international agenda.
"This is a global threat and it will require a global response. It will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months," he said. "It requires a response that is patient and painstaking, that is tough but also intelligent, but above all has an absolutely iron resolve, and that is what we will deliver over these coming years."