(ABC NEWS) Two U.S. officials tell ABC News that Americans are among the hostages held following an attack by al Qaeda-linked insurgents on a BP joint-venture natural gas field in Algeria.

One of those, a senior intelligence official, said that it currently appears three U.S. citizens are being held. However, the official cautioned that the numbers can change as can the overall number of hostages. While the total number of hostages continues to remain unclear, a number of reports have said as many as 41 hostages were being held. An official at BP told ABC News that there are approximately 700 local staff and contractors at the facility and 20 international BP staff and contractors.

In a briefing, State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland also confirmed that U.S. citizens are among the hostages.

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