LONDON (AP) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the U.S. is working with the British and Algerian governments to assess what's happening on the ground at a natural gas complex in the Sahara where Islamic militants are holding hostages from at least 10 countries.
The fate of many of the captives remains uncertain.
Speaking Friday at Kings College in London, Panetta said the U.S. is "working around the clock to ensure the safe return of our citizens." Panetta says the terrorists should be on notice that they'll find no sanctuary in Algeria or North Africa. He says anyone who looks to attack the U.S. will have "no place to hide."
Algeria's government has kept a tight grip on information, but it was clear that the militant assault that began Wednesday has killed at least six people from the factory - and perhaps many more.
Militants claimed that military helicopters opened fire Thursday when they were transporting hostages from the living quarters to the main factory area, and that 35 hostages and 15 militants died in the strafing.