Three Americans were among the 48 workers killed in a hostage standoff orchestrated by Islamic terrorists at a natural gas complex in Algeria.
Reports say seven Americans survived the attack.
In her press statement in Washington DC, Department Spokesperson says the State Department confirmed that gas workers Victor Lynn Lovelady of Houston, Texas, and Gordon Lee Rowan were killed at the Ain Amenas field in the Sahara.
She reports that U.S. officials identified Texas resident Frederick Buttaccio as the first death last week.
“We can now confirm the death of three U.S. citizens in the terrorist attack in Algeria: Victor Lynn Lovelady, Gordon Lee Rowan, and Frederick Buttaccio.” – Ms. Nuland
The US government extends its deepest condolences to their families and friends.
“Out of respect for the families’ privacy, we have no further comment.” – Ms. Nuland
The State Department is also aware of seven U.S. citizens who survived the attack.
However, Ms. Nuland says due to privacy considerations, the State Department has no further information to provide.
She says as the President Obama said, 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.
The US government will continue to work closely with the Government of Algeria to gain a fuller understanding of the terrorist attack and how they can work together moving forward to combat such threats in the future.
Reports say 29 terrorists were killed during assaults on Saturday by Algerian military forces. The terrorists reportedly came from Egypt, Canada, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Tunisia.
The terrorists reportedly planned to kidnap foreigners and wanted to flee to Mali with the hostages. However, when they were surrounded and cornered, they started killing the first hostages.
A veteran North African fighter named Mokhtar Belmokhtar claimed responsibility on behalf of al-Qaeda for the hostage crisis.
Belmokhtar is a notorious one-eyed fighter who fought in Afghanistan in 1980s and in Algeria’s civil war in the 1990s. He is a commander in the Mali-based Islamist Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
His fighters and followers launched their attack on the In Amenas gas plant before dawn on Wednesday.