Obama condemns deadly attack on Algerian gas complex

President Obama on Saturday said the United States condemns "in the strongest possible terms" the actions of al-Qaeda-linked hostage-takers following reports that around 23 hostages died as a standoff between Islamist militants and Algerian forces came to a bloody end.

In a statement, the president expressed sympathy for the families of those who were killed or injured in the "terrorist attack," saying "the thoughts and prayers of the American people" are with them.

"The blame for this tragedy rests with the terrorists who carried it out, and the United States condemns their actions in the strongest possible terms," Obama said in a statement. "We have been in constant contact with Algerian officials and stand ready to provide whatever assistance they need in the aftermath of this attack."

On Wednesday a group of Islamist militants attacked a gas field in Eastern Algeria and claimed to have taken a multinational group of workers at the complex hostage. There were varying news reports about how many Americans were taken hostage in the attack.

Obama said the U.S. would continue to work with its foreign partners to "combat the scourge of terrorism in the region, which has claimed too many innocent lives."

"This attack is another reminder of the threat posed by al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups in North Africa," he said.

Algerian special forces stormed the complex on Saturday, ending a battle that left at least 23 hostages dead, while all 32 militants were killed, according to the Associated Press, citing the Algerian government. One American is confirmed dead, but Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at this point it's unclear how many other Americans were killed at the complex, The New York Times reported.

The president said the U.S. would work with the Algerian government "in the coming days" to gain a better understanding of what transpired during the attack at the complex.

"In the coming days, we will remain in close touch with the Government of Algeria to gain a fuller understanding of what took place so that we can work together to prevent tragedies like this in the future," Obama said. 

This post was updated at 8:06 p.m.

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