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Originally published Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 10:07 AM

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Algeria defends raid that ended hostage standoff

Algeria's army says it made the decision to storm a gas plant where dozens of foreigners were being held hostage without consulting their governments.

The Associated Press

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ALGIERS, Algeria —

Algeria's army says it made the decision to storm a gas plant where dozens of foreigners were being held hostage without consulting their governments.

Al-Qaida-affiliated militants raided the desert complex in January, leading to a four-day confrontation punctuated by exploding cars, attacks from helicopters and a final assault by Algerian special forces. In all, 37 hostages, including an Algerian security guard, were killed. Some have suggested that the special forces' raid was reckless.

The army rejected that criticism Sunday in its weekly magazine, El Djeich.

The editorial says the army attacked "without any consultation or coordination so that no one can intervene in the internal affairs of the country." It added that the assault prevented a greater tragedy: the possibility that the militants might have blown up the gas site.

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