VOICE-OVER SCRIPT:

THE HOSTAGE SITUATION IN ALGERIA HAS COME TO A BLOODY END.

THE COUNTRY'S SPECIAL FORCES STORMED THE NATURAL GAS COMPLEX IN THE SAHARA DESERT ...

IT'S WHERE ISLAMIST EXTREMISTS HAD SEIZED DOZENS OF FOREIGN WORKER.

IN ALL, THE ALGERIAN GOVERNMENT SAYS AT LEAST 23 HOSTAGES AND 32 MILITANTS ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN KILLED.

BUT MANY FEAR THE DEATH TOLL COULD RISE.

AND DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA SAYS DETAILS ARE STILL QUOTE "SKETCHY" ABOUT WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED.

[Notes:SOUNDBITE: Leon Panetta, US Defense Secretary: "We do know that there were Americans there and we do know that they were held hostage. As to what has happened that is something frankly we just need to get better information on."]

THE ALGERIAN GOVERNMENT ALSO SAYS SOME 685 LOCALS ALONG WITH 107 FOREIGNER WORKERS WERE FREED OVER THE COURSE OF THE FOUR DAY STANDOFF.

STATE TELEVISION BROADCAST INTERVIEWS WITH TWO MEN IT CLAIMED WERE WORKERS ... ONE FROM THE U-K.

[Notes:SOUNDBITE: Un-named English BP worker and former hostage: "The rescue guys who had been in Ain Amenas were wonderful. They were like long lost friends and they all said this is not Algeria. Terrorists do not come from Algeria. We are so embarrassed, we apologize."]

THE MILITARY ALSO CONFISCATED HEAVY MACHINE GUNS, ROCKET LAUNCHERS, MISSILES AND GRENADES ATTACHED TO SUICIDE BELTS.

THE ALGERIAN STATE OIL COMPANY THAT RUNS THE SITE SAID IT APPEARED THE MILITANTS PLANNED TO BLOW UP THE COMPLEX ...

ONE OF THE LARGEST IN THE COUNTRY.

NICOLE GRETHER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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