UPDATE: Bloomberg News is reporting that French and U.S. troops have entered the hotel and are going room to room freeing hostages.
Statement issued by the hotel:
Hostage-taking at Radisson Blu Hotel, Bamako / Mali
…We are closely following the hostage-taking incident that is taking place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Bamako / Mali today, 20th November 2015. According to our latest information 124 guests and 13 employees are still in the building. Our highest concern is the safety of all our guests and employees in the hotel. We are in constant contact with the authorities there and will share further information with you when we have it….
ORIGINAL POST: Approximately 10 Islamic jihadists armed with AK-47s attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel located in Bamako, capital of Malia.
The peace loving Islamic jihadists as they target the 7th floor of the hotel made their way through the 190-room hotel taking with them an estimated 170 hostages, i.e., 30 staff members, 140 hotel guests.
While shots can be heard as the jihadists go room to room, approximately twenty hostages were set free unharmed because they were able to cite verses from the Koran.
What is so important about the seventh floor? The guests. The seventh floor has presidential suites and is where high profile international guests stay when booked at hotel.
The latest Islamic terrorist attack in Mali comes after one day an attack in Sevare, another town located in central Mali of which Al Qaeda linked militants have claimed credit.
Five UN workers, four soldiers and four jihadists died in the attack in Sevare.
Witnesses described how the gunmen allowed around 20 hostages to leave safely after they proved they were able to recite verses of the Koran to the militants.
No group have claimed responsibility for the hotel attack, which is frequently used by Air France crew, although Al Qaeda affiliated militants have previously carried out attacks in Mali.
Several witnesses have claimed that the gunmen entered the hotel in a car with a diplomatic number plate before opening fire in the building.
‘It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,’ a security source said.
Two Malians and one French national have been killed while three workers for Turkish Airlines and seven Chinese nationals are thought to be among the hostages.
Three other Turkish Airlines employees have managed to escape from the hotel, Turkish officials confirmed. …
According to live reported updates provided by the Telegraph:
Malian special forces moving through hotel floor by floor
Malian special forces are claring the hotel floor by floor, with sporadic gunfire heard according to security services and a witness.
French president Francois Hollande has said everything is being done to free the hostages held at the hotel.
France’s national gendarme service says about 50 elite police troops are en route from Paris to Bamako.
A spokesman for the service who was not authorized to be publicly named said they are heading Friday from two different units of special police forces trained for emergency situations.
Air France said that 12 of its crew were in the hotel, but have been extracted and are now safe.
France24 has interviewed one hostage emerging who says he was freed by soldiers. He tells how he hid in his room and saw bodies in the lobby as he was rushed out….
Mali hotel attackers heard speaking English
Analysis on Mali attack
Questions are already being asked about whether the Radisson’s security was up to scratch given its international and high-profile clientele, writes Aislinn Laing.
Its position at a cross-roads made it a “prime target” according to one commentator, while a Reuters journalist who stayed recently said its security consisted only of a handful of unarmed guards and a flimsy barrier.
Another guest said the guards issued a cursory glance under entering cars with a metal detector, and dispensed with all checks if they saw a familiar face. …
That said, if the reports about 80 people released from the hotel are true, and three are confirmed dead, that means as many as 90 remain unaccounted for.
The attack comes just days after Iyad Ag Ghaly, the leader of the militant group Ansar Dine, one of five Islamic movements in Mali, called for attacks on France and its interests in Mali.
In September, foreign journalists, French in particular, received death threats from a group calling itself “Guardians of Jihad” which accused them of spreading lies about Islam.
L’Independant newspaper in Bamako said it received the message on 29 August. It quotes the group as saying its fighters “are ready with their swords in Bamako, Segou, Gao, and Timbuktu, everywhere on Islamic soil”.
Images looped at BMTV here.
Early footage of scene outside #Mali hotel siege https://t.co/0Q3bLBHGMU
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 20, 2015
“The gunmen went straight to the seventh floor” says Mamadou Moussa Ba of @bbcafrique on the #Mali hotel attack https://t.co/VGPUcG1FDc
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) November 20, 2015
Sky News video from inside the #Mali hotel where 170 are being held, 3 dead @fox32news https://t.co/W7LXJXsvvr
— jillmanuel (@jillmanuel) November 20, 2015
#Mali: More live pictures from #radissonhotel hostages being freed (photo credit: Moussa Kondo). #BamakoAttack pic.twitter.com/rCu62xGcFD
— Hannane Ferdjani (@HFerdjani) November 20, 2015
138 hostages remain inside #Radisson Blu in #Bamako, hotel group says, as Mali gun attack continues https://t.co/NdLR9e6BM2
— Bloomberg Business (@business) November 20, 2015
U.N. OFFICIAL Gunmen had diplomatic car https://t.co/QaFtKfLEeA
— Okoye (@okoyesblog) November 20, 2015
#MALI #UPDATE Attackers came to hotel in vehicles of diplomatic number plates, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’- Reports. pic.twitter.com/gqLv6VY0Zz
— Terrormonitor.org (@Terror_Monitor) November 20, 2015