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Americans Among People Taken Hostage in Algeria

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An unarmed American Predator drone is now at the Algerian gas plant where armed attackers took workers hostage - include some Americans.

The US is getting its first independent look at what has been a very confusing situation with reports that some hostages have been killed and some have escaped.

Diplomatic sources say a rescue attempt by the Algerian army has resulted in the deaths of hostages at a remote Sahara Natural Gas Plant. Some of the hostage takers are also believed to be among the dead. The In-Amenas Natural Gas complex sits on the border with Libya and it run by B-P. An estimated 20 gunmen stormed the plant Wednesday afternoon-separating Algerians from an estimated 40 foreign workers, including 3 Americans and took them to their living quarters.

The terrorist group called the Masked Brigade is claiming responsibility and is reportedly under the command of a man known to have ties to Al Qaeda.  He goes by an Arabic nickname meaning - one eyed man.

A state department source tells CBS news the gunmen carried AK-47 and RPGs.. some also had suicide vests.

The group responsible for the attack says the hostage taking is in response to Algeria's cooperation with French troops fighting Islamic Militants in neighboring Mali.

Traveling in Italy Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the U.S. backs the French efforts in Mali and condemns the taking of the hostages.

Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, says,  "By all indications, this is a terrorist act."

With U-S support - the French military started bombing areas in Mali, last week to keep Islamic groups from taking over the country. The State Department has issued a new warning for all Americans traveling in Algeria.

The State Department has issued a new warning for all Americans traveling in Algeria.