Senior al-Qaeda commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar has been identified as the leader behind the attack.

Senior al-Qaeda commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar has been identified as the leader behind the attack.


The kidnappers killed a Briton and an Algerian after attacking and occupying the complex at In Amenas on Wednesday.


There are conflicting reports about the motives behind the attack.

Earlier the AFP news agency quoted one worker as saying the militants had demanded the release of 100 Islamist prisoners currently detained in Algeria. Another report said they wanted France to end its military operation in Mali.

Militant groups have vowed to avenge France's military intervention in Mali, where its forces have been battling Islamists linked to AQIM for the past week. Algeria has been allowing French aircraft to use its air space.

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