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Carney: White House 'condemns in the strongest terms' Algerian attack

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The press secretary refused to say whether the United States had been in contact with Algerian officials before they launched the apparent raid on the BP natural gas field.

Carney added that the White House "comdemn[ed] in the strongest terms" the initial attack, which he described as terrorism.

Carney spoke as wildly conflicting reports emerged from the remote Algerian natural-gas field where the hostages were being held. The role the United States was playing was similarly unclear, although The Associated Press reported that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had been in contact with Algerian officials.

In Rome, Panetta denounced the attack.

“The United States strongly condemns these kinds of terrorist acts,” Panetta said. “I want to assure the American people that the United States will take all necessary and proper steps that are required to deal with this situation.”

For more on Carney's comments, click here.

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