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Briton, Norwegian killed in attack on oil field in Algeria: report

A British and a Norwegian were killed in an attack targeting an oil facility in the locality of Tigantourine in Algeria's central province of Illizi earlier Wednesday, the official APS news agency reported, citing a source at the prefecture of Illizi.

The Norwegian national, who was the first victim in the attack, serves at British Petroleum (BP), APS said, citing Norway's Bergens Tidende newspaper.

An armed group related to al-Qaida network has claimed responsibility of the attack in a statement to the Mauritanian news agency.

The report also said the armed group, named Al Mouwaqiin Bi Dam (the Signatories by Blood), claimed the detention of 41 foreign workers in the oil facility operated by the BP and Algerian Sonatrach, including American, French, British and Japanese nationals.

This operation is a response to Algeria's decision to open its airspace to French warplanes to fight the extremist groups in northern Mali, according to the report.

Meanwhile, local Ennahar TV channel quoted a security source as saying that the militants required the release of their mates detained in Algerian prisons to swap the hostages.

Earlier on Wednesday, Algerian Interior Ministry said that an attack targeting an oil facility in Illizi province, southeast of the capital Algiers, has left a foreign worker killed and six others injured, including two foreigners, and a number of other foreign workers were kidnapped in the meantime.

The statement of the ministry, reported by APS, read that "an armed terror group onboard three vehicles, intruded at 5 p.m. local time (0400 GMT) an oil facility of Sonatrach in Tigantourine, near In Amenas, hundreds of kilometers away from the border with Libya."

"The attack began by targeting a bus carrying the foreign workers which was leaving the oil facility toward the airport of In Amenas," the statement said, adding that the escort unit managed to fire back.

The attack left one foreigner killed, and six people injured, including two security guards, two gendarme officials and two foreign workers, the statement said, without mentioning the nationalities of the killed and injured foreign workers.

Furthermore, the Interior Ministry confirmed that "after the attack, the terror group headed to the oil facility where it seized an undetermined number of foreign workers as hostages."

[Source: Xinhua, Algiers, 16Jan13]

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