US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta
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Algeria hostages: Act of 'wanton terrorism'

19 January 2013 Last updated at 09:56 GMT

US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta has called the hostage situation in Algeria a "wanton terrorist act" with no justification.

Although many hostages have been freed at the remote In Amenas gas plant, some 30 foreigners are still unaccounted for.

Mr Panetta said it was clear that al-Qaeda must not be allowed to establish "a hiding place from which to conduct these kinds of terrorist acts" in North Africa.