WASHINGTON, Jan 23, 2013 — The United States has provided airlift support to the Algerian government in the wake of recent terrorist attacks at a natural gas plant, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters here today.
Little confirmed that U.S. C-130 and C-17 aircraft configured for medical evacuation support moved wounded Americans and others from Algeria to Naval Air Station Sigonella on the Italian island of Sicily and to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, respectively.
The evacuations occur as the United States maintains participation in international efforts to thwart burgeoning terrorist cells in Northern Africa, Little said.
“The sole blame for what happened at this facility in Algeria rests with the terrorists, … and the responsibility lies with them,” he added.
Little noted the United States has seen “strong indications” that Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb -- a Mali-based militant organization -- and other northern militant elements had a role in the attacks, but the groups are not solely an American issue.
“Countries in the region and beyond need to take AQIM very seriously,” Little said. “This node has grown in threat over the years, and we need to do whatever we can to thwart them.”