Burkina Faso and French forces killed a fourth extremist Saturday after freeing 126 people and killing three other attackers to end the seizure of a luxury hotel by al-Qaeda-linked militants, officials said. In addition to the extremists, at least 23 people were killed in the attack at the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, the capital, the president said. The fourth jihadist was killed when security forces cleared out a second hotel that was nearby. Two of the attackers were female, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said on national radio. The Islamic extremists stormed the Splendid Hotel and a nearby cafe Friday night.
About 33 people have been wounded and the operation freed 126 people, said Minister of Security and Internal Affairs Simon Compaore. Dozens of French forces arrived overnight from neighboring Mali to aid in the rescue. One US military member was embedded with French forces at the scene, and the United States helped provide France with surveillance and reconnaissance help, according to a US senior defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity. An al-Qaeda affiliate known as AQIM, or al-Qaieda in the Islamic Maghreb, claimed responsibility online as the attack was ongoing in downtown Ouagadougou at the 147-room hotel, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. (Read more al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb stories.)