ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - Algeria's state news agency says that special forces have completed their operation to free hostages from a remote desert natural gas complex.
The report gave no new toll for the number of dead among either the hostages or the kidnappers, who were described as a "multinational terrorist" group.
Earlier Algerian TV had said that four foreign workers, two Britons and two Filipinos, died in the operation.
A previous report from a Mauritanian news outlet, claimed Islamist militants told them that Algerian military helicopters strafed the gas complex where the hostages were being held, killing more than 30 of the foreigners and 15 of the kidnappers.
The spokesman for the Masked Brigade, which had earlier claimed responsibility for the assault Wednesday on the gas complex deep in the Sahara desert, said Thursday that Abou El Baraa, the leader of the kidnappers, was also killed in the helicopter attack.
The information came from the Nouakchott Information Agency, which has often carried reports from al-Qaida-linked extremist groups.
The militant spokesman said the kidnappers were attacked by Algerian helicopters when they attempted to leave the complex.
The Algerian government would not immediately comment on the standoff and the Associated Press was not able to independently confirm the information.