Hostages All Freed in Mali Hotel Siege: Reports
But security forces still said to be trying to 'dislodge' gunmen
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2015 11:41 AM CST
A Mali trooper assists a hostage, center, from the Radisson Blu Hotel to safety after gunmen attacked the hotel in Bamako, Mali, on Friday.   (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)

(Newser) – The hostage crisis at a luxury hotel in Mali's capital appears to be over, according to various reports, but not before dozens of people are said to have perished in the attack. Security sources tell Reuters that Malian commandos stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako after 170 hostages were taken Friday morning and that two gunmen behind the attack are dead. Security forces are still reportedly dealing with other gunmen in the hotel, per the news agency. "The attackers no longer have hostages. They are dug in in the upper floors. They are alone with the Malian special forces who are trying to dislodge them," a security ministry spokesman says. United Nations peacekeepers have so far documented 27 bodies—12 in the hotel's basement, 15 on the second floor—per an anonymous official, who noted that the search continues for more victims.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports that extremist group Al-Mourabitoun, based in northern Mali, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter. The New York Times says the group gave a recording to Al Jazeera saying it was behind the hotel raid. The militants demanded "aggression" in northern Mali stop and that fighters imprisoned in Bamako be let go, warning authorities "if you refuse, you know the consequences." The BBC notes that two Malian soldiers were injured during rescue efforts and that US special forces were on the scene to assist. The Pentagon has confirmed that 22 DoD military and civilian employees have been accounted for with no injuries, per Reuters. At least six Americans were among the recovered hostages, the news agency adds.
 

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