27 Dead After Islamist Militants Attack Hotel in Mali’s Capital

The accounts of the attack offered by hostages and security personnel are beyond disturbing. Thirsty for blood and bent on destruction, the jihadists lit up the hotel as they made their way through it and butchered helpless occupants, quizzing the people they found on the Quran and only letting them go if they decided their answers indicated that they were good Muslims. The Daily Mail reports:

“The rescue forces who eventually stormed the hotel after a seven-hour siege were met with scenes of horror: bodies piled up in pools of blood, the walls spattered with red.

Chilling pictures show bodies lying next to a lift, its doors kept open by the dead. It isn't clear whether they were trying to get out or in when merciless gunmen opened fire.

At least 27 – including a Belgian diplomat and one American – were killed by a group of jihadis which went on a deadly rampage on Friday, armed with grenades and automatic weapons, at one point holding more than 100 people hostage.

Automatic weapons fire was heard on the seventh floor of the 190-room Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, where it was thought as many as 10 militants roamed through the building, looking for guests and members of staff.

Two of the extremists have been killed, and all 127 hostages have since been freed – many running for their lives along the dirt track outside the hotel, which is popular with foreigners. Among those who fled the luxury hotel were three Britons.

The al-Qaeda affiliated group Al-Mourabitoun, based in the Sahara of northern Mali, have claimed responsibility for the attack, which began when the armed militants entered the grounds in a vehicle which witnesses claim had diplomatic plates.

The extremist group split two years ago from Al Qaiea's North Africa branch and is led by the one-eyed Mokthar Belmokhtar, who is also known as the ‘Marlboro Man'. The group said it wanted fighters freed from Mali's prisons and for attacks against northern Malians to stop.

The jihadist group, known as the Mourabitounes, was formed in 2013 after Belmoktar left al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and fused with a Malian militant group. The statement issued on Friday said the Mourabitounes had attacked in coordination with the ‘Sahara Emirate' affiliated with Al Qaeda.

Several witnesses have claimed that the gunmen entered through the gates of the hotel in a car with a diplomatic number plate before opening fire with AK-47s and throwing grenades inside the building. The gunmen were also speaking to the hostages in English, according to one who was freed.

‘I heard them say in English ‘Did you load it?, Let's go',' revealed Guinean singer Sekouba ‘Bambino' Diabate, who was rescued by Malian security forces.
Mr Diabate added: ‘I wasn't able to see them because in these kinds of situations it's hard. I woke up with the sounds of gunshots and for me, it was just small bandits who came in the hotel to claim something. After 20 or 30 minutes, I realized these are not just petty criminals.'

The hotel's head of security, Seydou Dembele, said two private security guards had been shot in the legs in the early stages of the assault.

‘We saw two of the attackers. One was wearing a balaclava. The other was black-skinned. They forced the first barrier,' Dembele told Reuters.”

Additionally, Breitbart reported live updates on the siege as it unfolded:

“6:20PM: Mali has been hit by a wave of jihadi terror this year. Hundreds have been killed by Islamic extremist groups in 2015 alone.

6:15PM: Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita tells France 24, ‘we will have to get used to situations like this.'

6:00PM: Al Qaeda in Mali has taken responsibility for playing a part in today’s Mali terror attack, reports Mary Chastain Of Breitbart National Security.

5:50PM: Al Qaeda supporters have taken to Twitter to celebrate today’s attacks, the New York Times reports.

5:45PM: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon condemns ‘the horrific attack in Mali. ‘The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has been assisting the Malian authorities in the handling of this crisis,' he adds.

5:35PM: The Islamist leader of the Al-Mourabitoun group which claims responsibility for the attack, Moktar Belmoktar, said the attack was carried out to free fellow fighters from Mali’s prisons and to stop attacks against northern Malians.

5:30PM: A local Mali news website, Maliactu.net, has listed 14 nationalities involved in the siege, namely:

Algerian, German, Belgian, Canadian, Chinese, Ivorian, Spanish, American, French, Indian, Moroccan, Russian, Senegalese and Turkish.

5:25PM: The Pentagon told the BBC that two Americans were involved in the hostage operation. One was from US Special Operations, on a temporary assignment to the US embassy in Bamako, he assisted at the hotel but was not part of the final raid.

The second, a Department of Defense staffer, was in a U.S.-Mali Joint Operations Centre ‘offering advice' as the siege unfolded.

5:15PM: A spokesman for the Malian security ministry, Amadou Sangho, said: ‘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.'

The Pentagon has confirmed none of the 22 U.S. civilians and special forces operatives were injured in the operation.

4:10pm: It now appears that the hostages have all been freed by the Mali-led operation. Reuters reports UN peacekeepers saw 27 bodies in the hotel. 12 corpses were seen in the basement, a further 15 on the second floor.

At least two terrorists have been killed and as many as four are thought to be holed up in one of the hotel rooms, but confusion remains as to the precise number of gunmen. Some sources are saying the two dead gunmen were the only attackers.

The Malian Security Minister, Salif Traore, told a news conference:

‘They currently have no more hostages in their hands and forces are in the process of tracking them down,'”



Source: The Daily MailBreitbart.com



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