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Algeria says 8 troops suffered minor injuries while ending hostage crisis at gas plant

  • 565f673ec7266202270f6a7067004495.jpg

    In this Jan. 16, 2013 photo secretly taken by a hostage, an Islamic militant, rear center, in camouflage uniform, stands among Algerian employees who were forced to leave their houses with their belongings at the Ain Amenas natural gas complex in Ain Amenas, Algeria. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE (The Associated Press)

  • 8abeaabac7286202270f6a7067003b58.jpg

    In this Jan. 16, 2013 photo secretly taken by a hostage, three Islamic militants, rear right, stand in front of foreigners that were taken hostage, in front of the building in the background, as Algerians, left, who are allowed to move, stand outside the living quarters of the Ain Amenas natural gas complex in Ain Amenas, Algeria. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE (The Associated Press)

  • 1410b284c7256202270f6a70670039fb.jpg

    In this Jan. 16, 2013 photo secretly taken by a hostage, an Islamic militant, in camouflage uniform, rear right, stands near Algerian employees who were forced to leave their houses with their belongings at the Ain Amenas natural gas complex in Ain Amenas, Algeria. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE (The Associated Press)

Algeria says it did not sustain heavy losses and that only eight soldiers suffered minor wounds during a four-day siege of a gas plant by al-Qaida-linked militants who took dozens of foreigners hostage.

It was the first acknowledgement by the government of any military casualties in the standoff at the Ain Amenas plant, where 37 hostages and 29 militants died.

The militants, armed with explosives and automatic weapons, had threatened to blow up the entire complex. Algerian troops tried twice to end the crisis, first by firing from attack helicopters before finally launching a ground assault.

The Defense Ministry condemned Wednesday what it called "insinuations" it took heavy losses. It says the eight wounded were already back at work.

Algerian authorities are typically reluctant to announce military losses.