Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore
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Algeria siege: 'Horrific' experience for hostage

18 January 2013 Last updated at 10:07 GMT

Whitehall sources have told the BBC they are preparing for multiple British casualties after Algerian forces stormed a gas complex in the Sahara desert to try to free hostages.

Islamist militants with links to Al-Qaeda took control of the plant on Wednesday, capturing workers from at least nine different countries.

At least four foreign hostages escaped, including a 36-year-old Irish citizen, Stephen McFaul.

Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore told a news conference that he had spoken to Mr McFaul's wife, Angela.

''She described the experience that he had as truly horrific, and it is clear from what she told me that unfortunately, there are a number of the kidnap victims who have not been as fortunate as Stephen,'' Mr Gilmore said.