Mali continues tenth day of state of emergency following deadly attacks
MALI (KUSI) – 11/23/2015 – In the western African nation of Mali, there is a state of emergency in effect after last week’s deadly hotel attack.
The U.S. said at least 22 people were killed when gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel.
The Al Akhbar news agency reports two Islamic terror groups are claiming responsibility.
On Monday, Mali’s president declared three days of mourning for those who were lost.
A U.N. official said he believes the attackers wanted to disrupt peace talks taking place inside the hotel.
11/20/2015 – Terrorists with guns blazing attacked a hotel hosting diplomats and others in Mali’s capital on Friday morning, leaving at least 10 people dead and trapping dozens in the building for hours, officials in the West African nation said.
Security forces launched a counterattack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako and escorted guests out.
By late Friday afternoon, no hostages were believed to remain in the building, though attackers still were inside, Malian army Col. Mamadou Coulibaly told reporters.
At least 10 bodies have been found in a hall of the hotel, Coulibaly said. At least six people injured in the attack have been hospitalized, Mali Health Minister Marie Madeleine Togo told state broadcaster ORTM.
U.S. Special Forces were involved in freeing the hostages, which included six Americans, early reports said.
The assault began around 7 a.m., when two or three attackers with AK-47 rifles exited at least one vehicle with diplomatic plates and entered the hotel with guns firing, said Olivier Saldago, a spokesman for the United Nations mission in Mali.
The attack, Saldago said, came as the hotel hosted diplomatic delegations working on a peace process in the landlocked country, a former French colony that has been battling Islamist extremists with the help of U.N. and French forces.
The Radisson chain said that as many as 170 people — 140 guests and 30 employees — had been there as the attack began.
Malian soldiers and U.N. troops had the hotel surrounded, a journalist for ORTM told CNN from the scene. Two security personnel were injured, Malian Security Minister Salif Traore said on ORTM.
"We’re still hearing erratic gunfire," journalist Katarina Hoije told CNN from near the scene Friday afternoon.
Al-Qaeda claimed early responsibility for the attack.