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Algeria Ends Crisis; 23 Hostages Dead (Update1)

The kidnappers focused on the foreign workers, largely leaving alone the hundreds of Algerian workers who were briefly held hostage before being released or escaping.

Several of them arrived haggard-looking on a late-night flight into Algiers on Friday and described how the militants stormed the living quarters and immediately separated out the foreigners.

Mohamed, a 37-year-old nurse who like the others wouldn't allow his last name to be used for fear of trouble for himself or his family, said at least five people were shot to death, their bodies still in front of the infirmary when he left Thursday night.

Chabane, an Algerian who worked in food services, said he bolted out the window and was hiding when he heard the militants speaking among themselves with Libyan, Egyptian and Tunisian accents. At one point, he said, they caught a Briton.

"They threatened him until he called out in English to his friends, telling them, 'Come out, come out. They're not going to kill you. They're looking for the Americans,'" Chabane said.

"A few minutes later, they blew him away."

_____

Paul Schemm reported from Rabat, Morocco. Associated Press writers Aomar Ouali in Algiers; Oliver Teves in Manila, Philippines; Elaine Ganley in Paris; Sylvia Hui in London; Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen; and Peter Spielmann at the U.N. contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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