27 people are dead so far as an Islamic extremist group attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako located in the West African country of Mali. The hotel was the site of diplomatic peace talks for the land locked country.
According to reports, 2 or 3 gunman arrived at the hotel in cars with diplomatic license plates, entered the hotel and began shooting. An al-Qaeda linked group named al-Murabitoun has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Over 160 guests were staying at the hotel and officials say that over 80 have been freed. The hotel is a hot spot for international guests, diplomats and businesspeople.
Special forces from Mali, France and the U.S. were quickly on the scene and began clearing the building floor by floor.
Survivors say that the terrorists were shouting “Allahu Akbar” and made some of them recite passages from the Quran before exiting.
Residents of France see this as another assault against them as Mali was a former French colony and their military has been involved there since 2012, fighting against the growing Islamic extremism threat in the northern part of the country.
It is unclear which extremist group is behind this or what country’s diplomatic plates were on the cars used by the terrorists.
The Radisson Blu Hotel is in an upscale neighborhood outside the center of Bamako, rising high above the dusty streets and surrounding houses. With 190 rooms and suites, it is known as a hub for international guests such as diplomats and businesspeople, and it is a 15-minute drive from Bamako-Senou International Airport.
Security forces have begun a counterassault on the hotel, said French President Francois Hollande, who said he’d been in touch with Malian authorities dealing with the hostage situation.
Hollande, speaking to reporters in Paris, pledged to provide “necessary support” to help Mali resolve the situation.
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