UPDATED: Friday, November 20, 2015 3:20 PM EST:
According to Reuters, U.N. peacekeepers said 27 people were found dead at the Mali hotel where an attack, reportedly carried out by an African jihadist group, took place early Friday morning.
The hostage situation is over, Reuters writes.
The group, Al-Mourabitoun, reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack via Twitter, though the claim could not be verified by Reuters.
Al-Mourabitoun, formed around two years ago and based in the Sahara Desert, is headed by former al Qaeda fighter Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
It has claimed responsibility for the death of five people last March in an attack on a restaurant in Bamako; a suicide attack on a group of U.N. peacekeepers in northern Mali in April in which at least three people died; and an attack on a hotel in Sevare in central Mali in August in which 17 people were killed.
This is a developing story…
UPDATED: Friday, November 20, 2015 11:56 AM EST:
A counterassault on the hotel attacked in Bamako, Mali has resulted in the release of over 100 hostages held by forces who stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel early Friday morning.
Ten bodies were found in the hotel, CNN reports. The attackers, as of Friday afternoon, are said to still be in the building. At least six people who were injured in the attack have been hospitalized at the Gabriel Toure Univerity hospital in the West African nation’s capital.
According to Reuters, Islamist militant group Al Mourabitoun claimed responsibility for the attack in a tweet. The claim, however, could not be independently verified by either NewsOne or Reuters.
Three people were killed and over 100 people were taken hostage at an international hotel in Mali, West Africa, BBC News reports.
The attack began around 7 a.m. Friday morning when two to three possible gunmen arrived at the U.S-owned Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital of Bamako in cars with diplomatic plates. While shouting, “God is Great!” the suspects took nearly 170 residents and employees hostage.
Malian special forces have begun a counterassault. So far this morning, 80 people have been freed. The three killed were two Malian nationals and a French journalist.
A security official told reporters those who could correctly recite verses of the Koran were freed.
BBC News reports:
Among the other guests staying at the hotel are six Turkish Airlines staff, 20 Indian nationals and reports of up to 10 Chinese citizens. The UN peacekeeping force said it was supporting the operation as Malian special forces are reported to be freeing hostages “floor by floor”.
An Ivorian guest said she and six other people were escorted out by security forces as the gunmen rushed “toward the fifth or sixth floor”.
“I think they are still there. I’ve left the hotel and I don’t know where to go. I’m tired and in a state of shock,” Monique Kouame Affoue Ekonde told the AP news agency.
Over the past two weeks, an influx of attacks from Boko Haram and the Islamic State have taken over international waters in Paris and Lebanon. French President Francois Hollande said he is in touch with Malian authorities, but neither group has yet claimed responsibility.
SOURCE: BBC | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform
At Least 10 Killed, Hostages Released After Stand-Off Near U.S. Embassy In Mali was originally published on newsone.com