So the assault on an Algerian gas complex which aimed to free hostages from Islamists retaliating for France's military action in Mali has ended after hours of tense uncertainty.
A photograph taken on January 17, 2013 of a collect image issued by the family of Stephen McFaul, an Irish passport holder taken hostage by Islamist kidnappers at a gas field in Algeria, with his sons Dylan (L) and Jake. The 36-year-old Belfast man is no longer being held and is "safe and well", the Irish government said.
It is still not clear how many people have died.
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