What are the US options in Algeria hostage situation?
State Department: We don't negotiate with terrorists
- Duration 5:53
- Date Jan 18, 2013
State Department: We don't negotiate with terrorists
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At least a dozen people reportedly dead in the standoff at the BP owned gas facility in the African nation of Algeria and we don't know the status of the Americans that are.
Still in the hands of the terrorists as we reported earlier.
The State Department confirming -- Americans are among the hostages.
The State Department also responding to reports that the Islamic militants who overran the facility are offering two of the American hostages for.
A pair of convicted terrorists currently behind bars in the US.
Secretary of defense Leon Panetta has warned there will be no place to hide for anybody who harms an American citizen.
The fox reports chief correspondent Jonathan Hunt here now in the news Jonathan any clarity on the situation -- these Americans.
No clarity Greg but we do have some breaking news the militants themselves through the African news agency and I.
Have just said today -- holding a total of seven hostages still.
Two of those again American but they're also revealing now that they have three Belgians.
One Japanese citizen and won that British season that in terms of the two Americans the one eyed terrorist -- -- mocked top L mock talk.
Wants to trade those Americans for the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel -- Who's being held here in prison in connection with his role in the 1993.
-- trade center bombing.
A Victoria new in the State Department spokeswoman had an unequivocal -- response to battle for today let's head.
States does not negotiate with terrorists.
Let me let them period end game it now.
Negotiate with that I'll say it again the United States does not negotiate with terrorists can you do you expect that it looked at the same money.
We do not negotiate with terrorists were obviously in consultations with -- chance.
If you didn't get the message the US saying.
There will be no negotiations.
Over that any kind of swap for the terrorist prisoners held -- and those two as we understand it American hostages still held now in Algeria.
Does is -- do you the US is having great difficulty.
In getting reliable information yes hot second state Hillary Clinton being very careful not to directly criticize the Algerian government.
But many other leaders have it is clearly a very difficult -- to get information out of this remote area.
Algeria and the Algerian government being anything but forthcoming.
In fact just yesterday.
They said that this operation at that gas facility was over I first reported on The Fox Report last night that that may well not be true.
And that they did not have control of -- -- gas facility.
We learned today that those -- where in fact true.
They didn't have complete control and frankly Greg the best information -- likely to get in the immediate future is from those hostages who want who have now gone.
Jonathan Hunt thanks very much let's turn out -- Jennifer cook she is the director of the Africa program at the center for strategic and international studies.
What are America's.
Well -- Algeria clearly as a sovereign country has control of the situation.
I think many if the Britain British response is anything to go by they were surprised that Algeria acted so quickly without consultation.
The US it really is dependent on the Jerry ends right now in in terms of what -- negotiations strategy will be what -- Our long standing policy is clear we don't negotiate with terrorists -- -- and vision are ever handing over the blind sheik behind.
World Trade Center -- -- No absolutely not.
And -- I think we'll be algerians and in fact they're very quick harsh response which actually it killed many of the terrorists but actually killed many of the hostages as well.
I think is an indication that.
They don't they don't plan to negotiate in any way either.
Al-Qaeda and -- ground and all of its surrogates now operate in ten.
African nations they control northern Mali is you know about the size of Texas.
Does this attack show that al-Qaeda -- -- come in bold and it is grown stronger which would belie the Obama narrative.
Well it it can be al-Qaeda in Islamic -- has always been somewhat separate from the main al-Qaeda and the links -- -- -- The collapse of Libya certainly empower them with arms and fighters.
The collapse of the -- government and the takeover of northern Mali.
Has allowed them to to come together in a way that they hadn't things before.
And and and now quick launch attacks across the border into Algeria.
Which it fairly successfully pushed them out in previous years into this on governed space and -- -- how.
The 9/11 commission concluded that al-Qaeda believe sincerely.
That America just can't tolerate casualties.
And the best way to drive the US from any region.
Is to attack them and they cited the terrorist attacks in Lebanon and Somalia after which the US flat.
Is that's the thinking here of these terrorists.
-- and think in the first instance this was not directed at the United States this was.
And there in the first instance they said this -- -- in retaliation.
Against Algeria for allowing the French to use their air space to attack northern Mali.
And against the French.
For attacking -- And you don't think the fact that westerners and Americans.
In the group working at that particular gas field had -- -- to do with it.
Well I think certainly westerners they may not -- known who specifically was in there.
And now obviously they have the prize which is US citizens and they're making the most of that and in their rhetoric but I don't believe that was the original intent.
-- can Jennifer cook thanks very much thank you.