ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Five Americans Escaped From Algeria Terrorists (VIDEO)

Source: Brian Ross, Martha Raddatz and Megan Cuchmach / ABC News

Five Americans who were at an Algerian natural gas facility when it was raided by al Qaeda linked terrorists are now safe and believed to have left the country, according to U.S. officials. At least three Americans, however, were being held hostage by the militants when the Algerian military mounted an rescue operation earlier today that reportedly resulted in casualties.

Reports that as many as 35 hostages and 15 Islamist militants at a BP joint venture facility in In Amenas have been killed during a helicopter raid have not been confirmed, though Algeria’s information minister has confirmed that there were casualties. According to an unconfirmed report by an African news outlet, the militants say seven hostages survived the attack, including two Americans, one Briton, three Belgians and a Japanese national.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that Algerian forces had attacked the compound, and that the situation “was ongoing.”

“We face a very bad situation at this GP gas compound in Algeria,” said Cameron. “A number of British citizens have been taken hostage. Already we know of one who has died. … I think we should be prepared for the possibility for further bad news, very difficult news in this extremely difficult situation.”

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