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Militants offer to swap US hostages for "blind sheik"

The "blind sheik" is Omar Abdel Rahman, currently serving a life term for the '93 bombing of the WTC

By Ian Johnston and Tracy Connor,
NBC News

WASHINGTON — The fate of foreign hostages still held in Algeria was a mystery Friday as Islamic militants reportedly offered to swap two Americans for the release of a blind sheik jailed for terrorism in the U.S.

The Algerian military launched a second raid on the multinational cabal of kidnappers — led by a one-eyed al-Qaida associate — who laid siege to the In Amenas gas plant on Wednesday, state TV reported.

The situation was fluid, but the U.S. said one thing was carved in stone: It would not be cutting any deals with the captors.

Full story: Militants offer to swap US hostages for blind sheik

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