Showing posts with label Mali Attacks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mali Attacks. Show all posts

Mali Attacks - Hotel under siege !!!

Gunmen who raided a Malian hotel shouted "Allahu akbar" as they sprayed bullets on tables of people who were gathered for breakfast, a witness said.The attackers did not say a word to anyone as they opened fire Friday morning, employee Tamba Couye said. They shot at "anything that moved" as terrified patrons dashed for cover all over the hotel, he said.

By the time Malian and U.N. security forces rushed in and ended the siege hours later, bodies were scattered across the floors of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako. 

At least 22 people were killed in the attack, the U.N. mission in Mali said in a statement Sunday. Two attackers died, but it's unclear whether security forces killed them or whether they blew themselves up, mission spokesman Olivier Salgado said. The hotel was hosting delegations attending peace talks. The former French colony has been battling Islamist extremists with the help of U.N. and French forces. 

About 140 guests and 30 employees were there when the attack began, the Radisson chain said. The hotel in an upscale neighborhood in Bamako is a hub for international guests, and is a 15-minute drive from the main international airport.

Mali has declared a 10-day state of emergency and three days of national mourning, during which flags will be flown at half-staff.

Regional news agencies pointed fingers at two groups.

Islamist militant group Al Mourabitoun claimed it carried out the attack together with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, according to the Al Akhbar news agency. It said the attack was retaliation for government aggression in northern Mali, Al Akhbar reported. The group also demanded the release of prisoners in France. 

Algerian jihadist and leader of the group, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, may be behind the attack, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France's TF1. But he said France was not sure. Belmokhtar was targeted in a U.S. airstrike in Libya in June. While Libyan officials said he had been killed, their U.S. counterparts never confirmed his death publicly.

As news of the attack spread, officials from various nations accounted for their citizens.
Six Russian nationals "were gunned down together with 13 [others] in the hotel restaurant in the first moments of the terror attack," the Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday in a statement. Six other Russians were freed.

Three Chinese nationals were also killed, the Chinese Embassy in Bamako told state media. The family of Shmuel Ben Halal, a 60-year-old Israeli who worked as an educational adviser for Mali's government, said he died as well. U.S. citizen Anita Datar died in the attacks, her brother Sanjeev Datar said. The victims also include Geoffrey Dieudonne, an administrative counselor for Belgium's Parliament. He was in Bamako as part of a three-day French-language convention. The Indian count is still unknown.