Algerian special forces have stormed the last militant-held buildings at a natural-gas installation seized this week by Islamist hostage takers.
State-owned media says 11 militants were killed during the January 19 raid, but also says seven hostages were executed by their captors.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, identified by the Algerian Interior Ministry as the leader of a militant Islamic group thought to be behind the kidnappings.
Algerian officials told Reuters that 16 foreign hostages were freed on January 19 -- including two Americans, two Germans, and one Portuguese.
Earlier on January 19, Algerian security forces found 15 burned bodies at the gas complex. It was not clear whether they were hostages or militants.
The Algerian government also confirmed that 12 Algerian and foreign hostages were killed during a rescue operation on January 17 -- including one American and one French citizen.
It said 18 kidnappers were killed in that same raid, which allowed hundreds of hostages to escape.
The militants had claimed that 35 hostages were killed.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, BBC, dpa, and AFP