Armed Islamists on Wednesday (January 16th) attacked a gas field run by British oil giant BP in southern Algeria, killing two people, wounding six and kidnapping a group of workers, AFP reported.
Algerian state media said two policemen and four workers, including two foreigners, were among those wounded in the attack.
An Algerian member of parliament said four Japanese and one Frenchmen were among those kidnapped in the raid. A man from Northern Ireland who holds an Irish passport was among the hostages, the Irish foreign ministry said.
"We are members of al-Qaeda and we came from northern Mali," the militant told AFP by telephone.
"We belong to the Khaled Abul Abbas Brigade led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar," he added.
Belmokhtar, renowned for the eye patch he has worn since losing an eye, is one of the historic leaders of the jihadists' North African franchise, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.