Two Canadians among hostage-takers

Algeria's prime minister says two Canadian nationals were among the band of al-Qaida-linked militants who stormed a natural gas complex and took hundreds of workers hostage.

Abdelmalek Sellal did not say whether the Canadians were among the 29 militants killed by Algerian forces that stormed the site, or the three who were captured alive.

Sellal said today 37 foreign hostages were killed in the attack that began Wednesday and ended Saturday with the raid on the remote complex 1,300 kilometres south of Algiers.

Ottawa said before the prime minister's statement that it was continuing to probe reports Canadians were among the hostage-takers in the bloody four-day siege that left at least 81 dead.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was "pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information" and remained in close contact with Algerian authorities.

Private television Ennahar earlier cited security sources as saying two Canadians were among the hostage-takers and Agence France-Presse said a security source told it that it was known two Canadians were among them.

That followed reports Friday from a news agency in Mauritania, which quoted an unnamed source with the militant group who said the hostage-takers included people from Mali, Egypt, Niger, Mauritania and Canada.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs said this weekend it believes no Canadians or dual nationals were among the hostages and a permanent resident of Canada who was at the site is safe and has left Algeria.

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