Gunmen seize hostages at Radisson hotel in capital of Mali, Reports say 170 people are being held hostage. (RT).(FR24).
Automatic weapons fire broke out in the luxury 190-room hotel, where security forces have set up a security cordon, according to witnesses. At least two private security guards at the hotel were injured in the attack, the hotel’s security chief told Reuters.
"A hostage-taking or attempted hostage-taking is in progress," said FRANCE 24 correspondent Serge Daniel, reporting from Bamako shortly after gunfire broke out in the Malian capital. Daniel said that security forces had established a security perimeter and that the hotel was "completely sealed off".
Five of the six Turkish Airlines staff who had been held at hostage at the Radisson Blue hotel in Bamako have been released according to reports from Al Jazeera. There had earlier been reports that three of the airline employees had managed to escape from the hotel.
Malian security forces have arrived at the site, which is located just west of the city centre near ministry headquarters and diplomatic missions. Nearly two hours after the attack began, a security source told the AFP that security officials escorted two women out of the building.
"It's all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor," a security source told AFP.
Witnesses told FRANCE 24's Daniel that the attackers arrived at the hotel in a car with diplomatic license plates.
There were conflicting reports on the number of gunmen at the hotel. A Radisson employee at the site told the French weekly, Jeune Afrique, that three heavily armed men entered the building around 7am local time.
A security source however told Reuters that as many as 10 gunmen stormed the building, firing shots and shouting “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” in Arabic.
The Rezidor Hotel Group, which runs the hotel, issued a statement saying that, “as per our information two persons have locked in 140 guests and 30 employees,"
The Radisson Blu is one of Bamako’s most exclusive hotels, which hosts a number of international visitors and business people. The Chinese state news agency Xinhua said several Chinese tourists were among those trapped inside the building.
The US Embassy in Bamako issued a statement on Twitter stating that it was aware of an, “ongoing active shooter operation at the Radisson Hotel”. Another message said, “The U.S. Embassy staff has been asked to shelter in place. All U.S. citizens should shelter in place.”
Terrorist group behind the attack is reportedly 'Ansar al-Din' Meaning 'Defenders of the faith.
AFP: Security minister says the gunmen at the Radisson Blu Hotel in #Bamako in #Mali are "holding no more hostages"— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) November 20, 2015
18 bodies recovered from Radisson Blu hotel siege in Mali: foreign security source@ AFP #MaliHostages #Bamako— Reihaneh Mazaheri (@ReyMazaheri) November 20, 2015
Note for those RT'ng this; this is from a different attack earlier this year— TheMaghrebiNote (@MaghrebiNote) November 20, 2015
MORE- Group taking responsibility- Al Qaeda-linked Al Mourabitoun on US designated terror list as of 2013 #Bamako #Mali— Lisa Daftari (@LisaDaftari) November 20, 2015
BREAKING: Supporters of al-Qaeda-affiliated group claim responsibility for attack in Mali: Twitter posting. (@Reuters)— Lisa Daftari (@LisaDaftari) November 20, 2015
Who Are Al Mourabitoun? Al Qaeda-Linked Group Claims Responsibility For #Mali Attack https://t.co/fh5pTkEdoG #AlMourabitoun #AlQaeda— Rafaqat Ali Gohar (@rafu007) November 20, 2015
#Mali hotel attack: first images released of police besieging #islamist #gunmen at #Radisson hotel in #Bamako pic.twitter.com/GY6wrW4CnR— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) November 20, 2015
#MaliAttacks Group behind today's Bamako attack reportedly named as 'Ansar al-Din' - means 'defenders of the faith'.— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) November 20, 2015
#Bamako - Un des otages tués était fonctionnaire du parlement de la FWB, a annoncé Charles Picqué en séance du parlement bruxellois #Belga— Aurore Bukassa (@Delices) November 20, 2015
Hearing Supporters of al Qaeda affiliated group have claimed responsibility for the hostage situation at #RadissonBlu hotel #Bamako #Mali— Alcides Segui FOX (@seguifox13) November 20, 2015
Conflicting reports on # of hostages in #Bamako hotel; U.N. spox just told me around 100 have been freed. https://t.co/1yO8T1waAA— Maggie Fick (@MaggieFick) November 20, 201
💥#Mali Security services say attack may have been launched by #AlQaeda affiliate group Ansar al Dine— Mete Sohtaoğlu (@metesohtaoglu) November 20, 2015
#Mali state TV #ORTM showing #Radison hostage situation in #Bamako. More now #LIVE @dwnews https://t.co/xQO1D4A9DY pic.twitter.com/N3GKPjMOaq— dwnews (@dwnews) November 20, 2015
Owner of hotel: 125 guests and 13 employees still inside (@BreakingNews) Elite French troops are en route to #Bamako https://t.co/L7sPoP5Trw— Benjamin Alvarez (@BenjAlvarez1) November 20, 2015
L'Ambassade de France au #Mali a ouvert une cellule de crise ➡️ +223 44 97 58 20 https://t.co/QDWVJ2HSd4 #bamako— AfricaFrance (@AfricaFrance) November 20, 2015
#Bamako"Two of the attackers spoke in English, with a nigerian accent" - Sekouba Bambino, hostage. https://t.co/J7JwMX7RyP …— MFS - The Other News (@MFS001) November 20, 2015
#BREAKING: #Mali hotel gunmen have freed some hostages inc. those able to recite verses of the Koran - @Conflicts pic.twitter.com/fnF71yBAUt— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 20, 2015
Prise d'otages à Bamako : 80 personnes auraient été libérés. #Mali #BamakoAttack #Radisson pic.twitter.com/AHSRgQdlXH— Visactu (@visactu) November 20, 2015
#Turkey's @Cihan_Haber reports from #Bamako that among hostages are #France soldiers, @airfrance crew and #Belgium citizens— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) November 20, 2015
#Radisson de #Bamako :il y aurait au maximum 4 terroristes dans l'hôtel selon les autorités maliennes rencontrées par le correspondant @RFI— Liza Chaboussant (@Chabliz1) November 20, 2015
💥 Heavy gunfire heard a short while ago as #Mali special forces operation to free Radisson hotel hostages still ongoing. #BamakoAttack"— Hasan Sari (@HasanSari7) November 20, 2015
💥 Interesting: One of the hostages who just escaped from hotel said: "I've heard some of the attackers speaking in 'English'". #MaliAttack"— Hasan Sari (@HasanSari7) November 20, 2015
Former #Mali-an PM Moussa Mara says he doesn't rule out that accomplices from #RadissonHotel helped the attackers (France 24) #BamakoAttack— Hannane Ferdjani (@HFerdjani) 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
🔴 ALERTE - #Bamako La télévision publique malienne annonce la libération de 80 otages https://t.co/ip8ZiWYOTz pic.twitter.com/PUvyekzPq2— Le Figaro (@Le_Figaro) November 20, 2015
#BREAKING: #Mali army commander: About 20 hostages freed from #Bamako hotel seized by gunmen pic.twitter.com/PQVi1ocIKT— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 20, 2015
#AFP RAW footage from #Mail: near #Radisson Hotel in #Bamako where 170 hostages from jihadists caught. pic.twitter.com/Xo4VPL9Vp8— Onlinemagazin (@OnlineMagazin) November 20, 2015
#BREAKING: Cell phone video filmed by Chinese tourist taken in #Bamako, #Mali - national is among 170 hostages https://t.co/lrm4g2mZ8T— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) November 20, 2015
💥 Attackers reportedly used grenades to start their assault killing 2 security guards, they arrived in vehicle w: diplomatic plate numbers,— Hasan Sari (@HasanSari7) November 20, 2015
UPDATE #BREAKING 💥Photos from outside the hotel in #Bamako, #Mali, where gunmen have taken hostages 📸@AFP pic.twitter.com/FgoTaYBr9A— Mete Sohtaoğlu (@metesohtaoglu) November 20, 2015