A terrorist attack on the Raddison Blu Hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako has left 22 people dead and 14 wounded. Al-Qaeda linked militants stormed the building and held 170 hostages until special forces over-ran the building, killing two of the attackers.
The 9-hour siege began at around 7am when militants entered the upmarket hotel in cars with diplomatic plates. Gunmen reportedly stormed the complex shouting ‘Alahu Akbhar’ and allowed some hostages to leave if they could successfully recite verses from the Qu’ran.
Six Russians, three Chinese, an American, a Belgian, a Sengalese and an Israeli were shot dead by attackers.
Twelve members of Air France crew were successfully freed during the siege by security forces, as news continued to unfold surrounding the Paris attacks last week that left 129 people dead. No link between the two terrorist incidents has been confirmed, though.
UN Peacekeeping troops and Malian armed forces were supported by both US and French security services as they cleared the building floor-by-floor.
This is the Malian capital’s second terrorist attack this year, after attackers murdered five five people in a bar in March.
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2pm – Friday 20 November
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 20, 2015
- Despite reports that 80 hostages were freed, the official statement from the Rezzidor Hotel Group says 138 people are still being held in the building.
- The foreign office is advising against travel to Mali and civilians are being urged to remain indoors.
- The UN mission in Mali, Minusma and US special forces are also involved in the rescue operation.
12:40pm – Friday 20 November
— Reuters Africa (@ReutersAfrica) November 20, 2015
- A French national, freed by security forces has spoken to France 24 about the ordeal. He says that ”lots of people are still in there (the hotel).”
- French forces have confirmed that they are on the way to Mali to support the operation.
12:30pm – Friday 20 November
— CNN International (@cnni) November 20, 2015
- Special operations forces have stormed the hotel, freeing at least 80 hostages.
- Malian officials have confirmed that suspected jihadists used diplomatic plates to enter the hotel.
12pm – Friday 20 November
- Five Turkish airlines members of staff have been freed either by gunmen or security forces, after being taken hostage in the Raddison. However according to a Turkish government official, two flight attendants are still in the hotel.
- French President Francois Hollande has said everything is being done to free the hostages and that both French and US authorities are involved in an operation to free those trapped in the Raddison.
- AFP reports that 20 Indian nationals are being held hostage at the hotel, following confirmation from the ambassador’s spokesperson, Vikas Swarup.
- Air France have confirmed that 12 of their staff have been ”safely extracted” from the building after special forces entered.
11am – Friday 20 November
— Egyptian Streets (@EgyptianStreets) November 20, 2015
- A spokesperson for Raddison Hotel’s has confirmed that 140 guests and 30 members of staff have been locked in the hotel by at least three gunmen.
- As gunmen reportedly move from floor to floor in The Raddison Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali’s capital, one French national has been reported dead in the siege.
- Two Malians have been killed, according to UN sources.
- A source has told Reuters that some hostages, able to recite verses of the Qu’aran have been released. The gunmen reportedly entered the hotel in a diplomatic car and stormed the building shouting ”Allahu Akbar”.