An upscale hotel in Mali, a center of conflict between France and Islamic terrorists, was the site of a terror attack on Friday. Details are not yet clear, but reports indicate there are 170 hostages.
Islamic terrorists attacked a popular hotel in Mali’s capital on Friday with guns and grenades, authorities and a witness said.
A staffer at the Radisson Blu hotel, who gave his name as Tamba Diarra, said over the phone that the attackers used grenades in the assault. He did not have information on casualties or the number of assailants involved, but said he was not aware of hostages having been taken at the hotel.
The hotel’s owners said that two attackers had locked in 140 guests and 30 employees, AFP reported.
The terrorists entered the hotel, shooting while shouting Allahu Akbar (Arabic for “God is great”) in Arabic, a security source told Reuters.
The U.S. Embassy in Mali asked citizens to shelter in place amid reports of an “ongoing active shooter operation” at the hotel.
Reports of gunfire surfaced Friday morning on social media, though Lt. Col. Diarran Kone, an adviser with Mali’s defense ministry, says it is not yet clear what happened.
Mali is a former French colony. Following a military coup in 2012, Islamic terrorists took control of northern Mali, prompting a French-led military intervention in early 2013. The terrorists were scattered from northern towns and cities, though the north remains insecure and attacks have extended farther south this year.
France has intensified its attacks on the Islamic State (ISIS) since the terror group committed multiple attacks last Friday night in Paris, claiming 129 lives and injuring more than 350, many critically.
In March, masked terrorists carried out a shooting attack at a Bamako restaurant popular with foreigners, killing five people.
About 1,000 French troops remain in the country.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff