Mali hotel attack: Islamist group says it shares responsibility

(CNN) Assailants along with guns blazing on Friday assaulted a hotel hosting diplomats while others in Mali’s capital, leaving a minimum of 21 people dead and capturing dozens in the building for hours, authorities in the West African nation said.

Malian and U. N. safety forces launched a counterattack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako and escorted guests out. Simply by late afternoon, no hostages had been believed to remain in the building, army Col. Mamadou Coulibaly told reporters.

U. S. Nationwide Security Council spokesman Ned Cost said in a written statement that this attack had ended.

Twenty-one people were killed, mentioned Olivier Salgado, a spokesman for your United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali. At least six people injured within the attack have been hospitalized, Mali Wellness Minister Marie Madeleine Togo informed state broadcaster ORTM.

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France said it dispatched in order to Mali an elite paramilitary group been trained in hostage rescue and counterterrorism functions. President Francois Hollande , speaking to reporters within Paris, pledged to provide “necessary support” to help Mali resolve the situation.

U. S i9000. special operations forces were assisting “move civilians to secured areas as Malian forces clear the particular hotel of hostile gunmen, inch said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Falvo, a spokesman for U. Ersus. Africa Command.

The attack comes only a day after Hollande praised their troops for successfully fighting Islamists in the former French colony. Additionally, it comes a week after France experienced its own high-profile terror attack: Shootings and committing suicide bombings, claimed by the terror team ISIS, that killed 130 individuals in and near Paris .

‘I saw… bullets’

Michael Skapoullis, who also lives near the Radisson Blu, informed CNN he was using the hotel’s gym Friday morning when he or she noticed fellow exercisers leaving. He or she hadn’t heard anything because he had been listening to music, but he chose to follow.

He or she walked to a door leading to the particular hotel lobby, and that’s when he or she saw something was wrong.

“When I opened up the door, I saw, on the floor, bullets, inch Skapoullis said. “So I softly closed the door, and… I returned into the gym” and eventually left the particular complex.

An additional man who’d been in the resort told ORTM that he heard gunshots that he initially thought were fireworks.

“Then all of us heard the hotel alarm…. We walked out into the hallway, and am saw a lot of smoke, ” stated the man, whom ORTM didn’t title. “Then I went back into our room to stay there.

“Later, the Malian forces came to get us…. Give thanks to God we are now healthy very safe. ”

Diplomats, airline employees were in hotel

As news of the attack distribute, media outlets and officials from the number of nations reported that a selection of their citizens were in the hotel or even had been freed. A summary:

One U. S i9000. citizen died during Friday’s terrorist attack at the Radisson Blu Resort in Bamako, Mali, a mature State Department official told CNN. “We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased…. Away from respect for the family, we have simply no further information at this time. ”

“About a dozen” Americans were rescued, U. H. State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

Geoffrey Dieudonne, an management counselor for Belgium’s Parliament, passed away as a result of the attack, Parliament mentioned. Details about his death weren’t instantly clear; he was in Bamako included in a three-day French-language convention.

Seven Algerians, including six members of an Algerian diplomatic delegation, are safe after becoming trapped in the hotel, the state-run Algerie Presse Service reported. The particular Algerians were freed during a counterassault by U. N. and Malian forces.

Twenty Indian nationals, working for the Dubai-based company and staying at the particular hotel long-term, were safely evacuated, Vikas Swarup, a spokesman with regard to India’s Ministry of External Matters, said on Twitter.

Twelve Surroundings France crew members who were residing at the hotel were safely taken out, the airline tweeted. Air Italy has canceled all its plane tickets to and from Bamako as a precaution, the particular airline said.

Turkish Airlines said from seven of its employees were residing at the hotel, and all had been liberated by the afternoon.

At least seven Chinese visitors were among the hostages, Chinese mass media reported. At least four of them have been rescued, state-run CCTV reported, citing a source at the Chinese Embassy within Mali.

Two German nationals were able to keep the hotel, Germany’s Foreign Workplace said.

August attack

Mali: The long, troubled desert street ahead

Friday’s attack comes about three months right after 12 people, including five Malian soldiers, had been killed in a hostage situation and ensuing battle in a hotel in Sevare in main Mali in August.

The soldiers stormed the hotel to end a daylong siege that started when gunmen raided the hotel after assaulting a military site nearby, witnesses said.

At that time, the Malian army said the particular attackers were affiliated with the Macina Liberation Movement. Human Rights View has described the group as Islamists who commit “serious abuses throughout military operations against Mali’s safety forces. ”