panettaredo.jpgDuring an attack early this morning on a gas-production facility in Algeria, Islamist guerrillas seized an unconfirmed number of hostages, including Americans.  At least two people are known to have been killed in the attack. Algeria’s news service said troops had surrounded the facility, the Associated Press reported. The attack reportedly resulted in the deaths of two people and the capture of several dozen foreign workers, most of them European, officials in Europe and in Algeria told news agencies.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said,“It is a very serious matter when Americans are taken hostage along with others. I want to assure the American people that the United States will take all necessary and proper steps that are required to deal with this situation.” Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack and said seven Americans were among the 41 hostages.