Malian special-operations forces have stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in the capital city of Bamako, where gunmen are still holding 138 people hostage.
Early Friday, the hostage-takers reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they seized the luxury complex after entering the compound in a vehicle with diplomatic license places.
Officials have confirmed that three people are dead.
Witnesses said heavy gunfire could be heard from outside the building after 80 hostages were let go. Later, the Carlson-Rezidor hotel group said in a statement that 125 guests and 13 staff members remained in the hotel.
“It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,” a security source told AFP. The BBC reports the hotel is frequented by expats working in Mali.
The attack comes three months after suspected Islamist gunmen killed 13 people during a hostage siege at a hotel in the central town of Sevare.
The Pentagon said six Americans were rescued from the Radisson hotel by U.S. special forces. “U.S. forces have helped move civilians to secure locations, as Malian forces work to clear the hotel of hostile gunmen,” Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Falvo said. Read more.