The Slatest

Up to 27 Die as Jihadis Take Hostages at Hotel in Former French Colony of Mali

Mali Radisson
Troops outside the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali, on Nov. 20, 2015.

Photo Habibou Kouyate/AFP/Getty Images

Update, 2:10 p.m.: Per the New York Times, all surviving hostages at the hotel have been freed, but as many as 27 victims may have been killed in total. Two attackers are reportedly dead and authorities are searching the hotel for others.

Update, 10:35 a.m.: The France24 network is reporting that at least 15 people have died at the Radisson in Bamako.

Original post, 9:19 a.m.: More than 100 people were reportedly taken hostage and at least three killed Friday by gunmen at a Radisson hotel in the city of Bamako, the capital of Mali, in another apparent jihadi attack directed at France. French troops were involved in operations against Islamic radicals in Mali, a former French colony, as recently as last year. A number of hostages have reportedly been freed by Malian forces, but the entire hotel has not yet been secured. From CNN:

Security forces have begun a counter-assault on a Malian hotel where gunmen took more than 100 hostages Friday morning, French President Francois Hollande told reporters in Paris on Friday afternoon.

The situation began around 7 a.m. at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, when two or three attackers stormed the hotel, firing guns and initially taking about 170 people hostage, officials said … By noon, the country’s state broadcaster, ORTM, reported that at least 80 of the hostages had been freed.

Hollande happens to have mentioned French counterterrorism activities in Mali in a public statement Thursday; in 2013 and 2014 French forces helped retake areas in the country’s north that had been seized by al Qaida–allied Islamic militants. Reuters says that the gunmen who attacked the Radisson shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they stormed the hotel and that some guests who were able to recite verses of the Koran were allowed to go free.