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Algeria asks for terror help

Algeria will need international help to better fight terrorism, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mourad Medelci, acknowledged yesterday. His remarks come just a week after his government was criticised for rejecting offers of help to deal with the four-day crisis at a gas plant which left at least 37 hostages and 29 militants dead.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos about the 16 January attack by an al-Qa'ida-affiliated organisation and the four-day siege, he said: "We're in the process of assessing our mistakes. In that assessment we are leaning more towards establishing that the operation was a success." He said Algeria is likely to reinforce security measures at sites where multinationals operate in the oil- and gas-rich country.

The British public appears to hold conflicting views about any direct British intervention in the region. An IoS/ComRes poll this weekend found that while 41 per cent are in favour of sending military advisers and special forces to North Africa, some 65 per cent believe intervention would make Britain a more likely target for Islamic terrorists.