Clinton to Face More Questions in Algeria Aftermath

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Algerian forces continue to scour the Sahara Desert in search of five missing foreigners from last week's natural gas plant attack by Islamist terrorists.

U.S. officials confirm three Americans died in the hostage standoff. Seven Americans made it out safely.

Bomb squads found dozens of bodies killed at the hands of an al Qaeda operative.

Algerian security forces tried to stop the terrorists on a Saturday raid, but 81 people were killed in the fighting, many burned beyond recognition. Thirty-seven hostages died, along with 29 terrorists.

During the four-day standoff an al Qaeda leader sent a chilling message in Arabic: "We will kill the American hostages here. We will not kill them, we will slaughter them."

Authorities say at least one of the terrorists may have been from Canada and spoke excellent English. Some of the surviving hostages escaped the ordeal, but their fear was compounded because the attackers were dressed as security guards.

"When you don't know what's out there and we know that the terrorists are dressed the same as the security forces, that was a huge decision (to try to escape)," freed British hostage Alan Wright said. "Do you stay or do you go?"

The Algerian government displayed an arsenal of grenades, guns, walkie talkies, and mobile phones, all signs that the attack was carefully planned.

Representatives of the Masked Brigades, the al Qaeda group claiming responsibility, confirmed that two months of planning went into the assault.

A major theme of President Obama's re-election campaign was that the United States had al Qaeda on the run. The tragedy in Algeria, coming just months after the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is the latest sign that al Qaeda is very much alive and testing the West.

"We didn't know for sure, for certain it would be this particular place under those particular circumstances, but we knew what they were trying to complete: a target against a Western target, which this clearly was," Rep. Mike Rogers R-Mich., said.

The Algeria aftermath makes it more likely that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will have to answer questions about al Qaeda's role in north Africa when she testifies Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and later before a Senate Committee about the Benghazi killings of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans.           

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.