Radisson hotel in Mali attacked; 170 hostages takenhttps://indianexpress.com/photos/picture-gallery-others/radisson-hotel-in-mali-photos-attacked-170-hostages-taken/

Radisson hotel in Mali attacked; 170 hostages taken

A Malian military official says at least three people are confirmed dead in an attack on a hotel in the capital where more than 100 hostages are believed to be held.

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A Malian military official says at least three people are confirmed dead in an attack on a hotel in the capital where more than 100 hostages are believed to be held.

Security force personnel escort people fleeing from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali. (AP Photo)

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Lt. Col. Diarran Kone told The Associated Press that the deaths were confirmed after gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu hotel Friday morning. At least 170 hostages were believed to have been taken, though some 20 were freed later in the morning and others managed to escape with the help of security forces.

The U.S. and French embassies told their citizens in Bamako to take shelter wherever they are. China's official state Xinhua News Agency quoted a Chinese guest as saying via a mobile chat app that several Chinese were among the guests trapped at the hotel.

Onlookers gather near the Radisson Blu hotel after gunmen stormed the building in Bamako, Mali. (Source: AP)

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The Malian military said 10 gunmen stormed the hotel shouting ``Allahu Akbar,'' or ``God is great,'' in Arabic before firing on the guards.

The Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel group that operates the hotel said the assailants have 'locked in' 140 guests and 30 employees. 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.

People run to flee from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (Source: AP)

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Following a military coup in 2012, Islamic extremists took control of northern Mali, prompting a French-led military intervention in early 2013 that forced the extremists from northern towns and cities, though the north remains insecure and militant attacks have extended farther south this year. In March masked gunmen shot up a restaurant in Bamako, located in Mali's south, that is popular with foreigners, killing five people.

Bamako is seen during a harmattan dust storm, in this file picture taken February 19, 2014. Gunmen shouting Islamic slogans attacked a luxury hotel full of foreigners in Mali's capital Bamako early on the morning of November 20, 2015, taking 170 people hostage, a senior security source and the hotel's operator said. (Source: Reuters)