The bodies of two Canadian Islamist terrorists were found Monday at the remote gas complex which played host this past week to a four-day hostage crisis that has left at least 81 people dead, lending to sentiments that the radicalization of Islam continues to reach beyond the Middle East.
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal claimed Monday that a Canadian coordinated the attack, saying at a news conference, "A Canadian was among the militants. He was coordinating the attack."
According to Algerian security sources, documents found on the bodies of two terrorists identified them as Canadians.
The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Chrystiane Roy told CBC News on Monday that the government is, "pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information and are in close contact with Algerian authorities."
"Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms this deplorable and cowardly attack and all terrorist groups which seek to create and perpetuate insecurity in the Sahel countries of West Africa," she added
Documents recently declassified by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) revealed that Canada was among the top countries - which included the U.S., Germany, U.K., Spain and Israel - defined as preferred targets for terrorist activities by the al-Qaeda terror organization.
The documents also noted that young Canadians visiting Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan may be in danger of radicalization, and in the last decade dozens of Canadians have enlisted in the ranks of Islamic terror groups in these countries, with many receiving military training to carry out attacks in their home country.
According to Canadian intelligence, "The radicalization of Sunni Islam which leads to increasing acts of violence, constitutes a significant threat to Canada and its allies."
Information on the identity of both the victims and terrorists is slowly surfacing as security forces continue to sort through the wreckage left behind from the bloody confrontation which ended in an all out assault by Algerian forces Saturday night.
According to Algerian authorities, the hostage situation began Wednesday when 32 men from six countries, armed with heavy machine guns, missiles and other weaponry, and under the command of an Islamist terror group, singled out hundreds of foreign workers at the gas plant, killing some and attaching explosives to others.
On Saturday, Algerian forces stormed the plant, bringing the four-day hostage situation to a violent end. In the aftermath, security forces searched the area for explosives and booby traps, and instead discovered a grisly scene as dozens more bodies were found.
Many of the bodies were badly disfigured, making it hard for officials to identify the dead.
One American from Texas has been confirmed dead, but terrorists claimed they were holding seven Americans hostage.