Ottawa calls in Algerian envoy to demand proof of Canadian link to al-Qaida

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OTTAWA - The Foreign Affairs Department has called in Algeria's ambassador to Canada to get more information on why the country's prime minister labelled some of the hostage-takers in last week's gas-plant siege as Canadian.

The diplomatic dressing down was part of Ottawa's ongoing efforts to confirm or debunk reports that there were two Canadians among the terrorists involved in the attack on the remote plant in the Algerian desert.

The federal government is operating on the assumption that unless they can determine otherwise, any identifying papers that might point to Canadian involvement are likely fake.

A senior government official says Canadian diplomats in Algeria are also requesting access to the information the Algerians are using to identify any of the militants as "Canadian."

Some 37 hostages and 29 militants were killed when Algerian forces stormed the complex; five other foreign workers remain unaccounted for.

Senior federal sources tell The Canadian Press the government has been frustrated by a lack of detailed information coming from Algerian officials.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version referred to the Algerian president.

Organizations: Al-Qaida, Foreign Affairs Department, Canadian Press

Geographic location: Ottawa, Algeria, Canada

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