UK to give counter-terror, intelligence aid to Algeria

LONDON Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:37pm IST

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron stands on the steps of 10 Downing Street while waiting for Estonia's Prime Minister Andrus Ansip to arrive, in London January 21, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron stands on the steps of 10 Downing Street while waiting for Estonia's Prime Minister Andrus Ansip to arrive, in London January 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday it would give Algeria counter-terrorism and intelligence aid to help dismantle the Islamist network that carried out last week's hostage attack at a desert gas complex.

Prime Minister David Cameron pledged a "strong security response" to the attack, in which 37 foreigners were killed, and said North Africa was becoming a "magnet for jihadists", but did not promise any military intervention.

At least three Britons were among those killed, and another three are feared to be among the dead.

"We will contribute British intelligence and counter-terrorism assets to an international effort to find and dismantle the network that planned and ordered the brutal assault at In Amenas," he told parliament.

Cameron compared the threat of terrorism from northern Africa to that emanating from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and pledged to boost Britain's contacts with the region.

Separately, Cameron's spokesman ruled out any British combat role in Mali, where French troops are currently battling Islamist militants.

(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas and Andrew Osborn)

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