Sunday January 20, 2013
Six Britons, one UK resident believed killed in Algeria
LONDON: Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday that six Britons and one British resident were thought to have been killed in the Algerian hostage crisis, which he said was a "stark reminder" of the threat of global terrorism.
"Tragically, we now know that three British nationals have been killed, and a further three are believed to be dead. And also a further British resident is also believed to be dead," he said in a statement.
"I know the whole country will want to join me in sending our sympathies and condolences to the families who have undergone an absolutely dreadful ordeal, and now face life without these very precious loved ones."
Cameron stressed that responsibility "lies squarely with the terrorists who launched this vicious and cowardly attack", and said he would put the issue of global terrorism at the top of the agenda of this year's G8 summit.
He also refused to criticise Algeria, saying the attack on the In Amenas gas complex had been an "extremely difficult" situation to deal with.
The priority was now to bring everyone involved in the incident home, and the British ambassador to Algeria would be visiting the south of the country on Sunday morning, the prime minister said.
Separately, Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed that there were 22 British nationals who had survived the attack and were now back in Britain.
Cameron said: "People will ask questions about the Algerian response to these events, but I would just say that the responsibility for these deaths lies squarely with the terrorists who launched this vicious and cowardly attack.
"And I would also say that when you're dealing with a terrorist incident on this scale, with up to 30 terrorists, it is extremely difficult to respond and to get this right in every respect."
Cameron said the threat in North Africa was from "an extremist Islamist violent Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group", which he compared to militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"It is similar because it is linked to Al-Qaeda, it wants to destroy our way of life, it believes in killing as many peope as it can," Cameron said.
He added: "This is a stark reminder, once again, of the threat we face from terrorism the world over."
And he said: "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.
"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." - AFP