Algeria's state news service says nearly 100 out of the 132 foreign hostages kidnapped by Islamist militants have been freed from a gas plant in the Sahara desert.
The report by APS indicated a potential breakthrough in a bloody siege that began when militants seized the plant early Wednesday and reflected a significant jump in the number of foreign hostages involved.
The Friday report from the government news agency, citing a security official, did not mention any casualties in the battles between Algerian forces and the militants. But earlier it had said that 18 militants had been killed.
It was not clear whether the remaining foreigners were still captive or had been killed in the Algerian military operation to free them that began Thursday.