Oregon man among 3 Americans killed in Algeria attack
By Staff and AP reports
WASHINGTON (KPTV/AP) -
An Oregon man is one of three Americans who were killed in last week's hostage standoff at a natural gas complex in Algeria.
Gordon Rowan, from the eastern Oregon town of Sumpter, and fellow gas workers Victor Lovelady and Frederick Buttaccio were all killed at the Ain Amenas gas field in the Sahara.
Seven Americans made it out safely, Obama administration officials said Monday.
Militants who attacked the Ain Amenas gas field had offered to release Lovelady and Rowan in exchange for the freedom of 2 prominent terror suspects jailed in the United States: Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind sheik convicted of plotting to blow up New York City landmarks and considered the spiritual leader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist convicted of shooting at two U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
The Obama administration rejected the offer outright.
"The blame for this tragedy rests with the terrorists who carried it out, and the United States condemns their actions in the strongest possible terms," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "We will continue to work closely with the government of Algeria to gain a fuller understanding of the terrorist attack of last week and how we can work together moving forward to combat such threats in the future."
Last week's desert siege began Wednesday when Mali-based, al-Qaida-linked militants attempted to hijack two buses at the plant, were repelled, and then seized the gas refinery. They said the attack was retaliation for France's recent military intervention against Islamist rebels in neighboring Mali, but the captured militants told Algerian officials it took two months to plan.
Five Americans had been taken out of the country before Saturday's final assault by Algerian forces against the militants.
The U.S. official said the remaining two Americans survived the 4-day crisis at an insecure oil rig at the facility. They were flown out to London on Saturday.
Algeria says 38 hostages of all nationalities and 29 militants died in the standoff. Five foreign workers remain unaccounted for.
Oregon congressman Greg Walden said the attack is another reminder of "the threat America faces from radical extremists around the globe."
He said he plans to work with the Administration and the committees in the House to gain a better understanding of what happened in Algeria, "so that we can better protect Americans at home and abroad."
Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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