In Algeria: some hostages may have escaped from oil field where Americans were help

This image from video provided by the SITE Intel Group made available Thursday Jan. 17, 2013, purports to show militant militia leader Moktar Belmoktar. Algerian officials scrambled Thursday for a way to end an armed standoff.
This image from video provided by the SITE Intel Group made available Thursday Jan. 17, 2013, purports to show militant militia leader Moktar Belmoktar. Algerian officials scrambled Thursday for a way to end an armed standoff. SITE Intel Group/AP

Events are happening quickly at the gas facility in eastern Algeria where Islamist militants seized a large group of hostages — perhaps as many as 41 of them foreigners who apparently include some Americans — on Wednesday.

News organizations are moving lots of "alerts," including word that at least two hostages may have been killed. Some of what's being reported by one outlet conflicts with what others are saying. We're focusing on what's coming from those with reporters with sources who should have knowledge of the situation. Here are some of the latest reports. We'll keep updating as the day continues:

-- Algerian troops have surrounded the facility. (BBC News)

-- "Algerian official: 20 foreign hostages, including Americans, escape from their captors." (The Associated Press)

-- "Algerian news reports said that 30 Algerian hostages and 15 of the foreigners had been able to escape, but there was no immediate independent confirmation of that account." (The New York Times)

-- "Dozens of Algerian hostages have escaped a gas facility in southeast Algeria, where Islamist militants continue to hold around 100 people, including 41 foreign nationals." (France 24)

-- "Islamist militants who seized Westerners at an Algerian gas plant are demanding a safe passage to nearby Libya, authorities said, as fallout from the French offensive in Mali reverberates globally." (CNN)

-- The U.S. is talking with Algerian officials about what can be done to resolve the situation, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says. (AP)

-- "The group claiming responsibility — called Katibat Moulathamine or the Masked Brigade — said the attack Wednesday was in revenge for Algeria's support of France's military operation against al-Qaida-linked rebels in neighboring Mali." (CBS News)

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