al-Qaeda attack on hotel in Bamako is over. Hostages are free.
11/20 – AP – Islamic Extremists Attack Hotel in Mali’s Capital – Militants, “Islamic extremists” is the AP’s approved word, attacked a luxury hotel in Bamako taking over a hundred people hostage. The Malian army quickly moved to take back the hotel. At the time the article was filed, the rescue efforts were still underway.
Interesting tidbit is the Malian army troops were being supported by US and French special forces. A quote from an official spokesman from the U.S. Africa Command said special forces are training the Mali troops.
Rebel attacks are moving south, further away from the area in the north that they control, according to the article.
In March, rebels shot up a restaurant, killing five people.
In addition to 1,000 French troops, there are 450 Dutch troops in Mali. Article doesn’t say how many American troops are there, or the total of foreign soldiers.
11/20 – Wall Street Journal – First report with time stamp of 8:53 PST said at least four attackers took 170 hostages with three people dead. Article says there are 25 American troops in country.
Update message on WSJ app at 9:23 says the hostage taking is over with 22 dead innocents and 5 dead terrorists. Breakout of fatalities of hostages and soldiers is unknown.
WSJ with 9:40 PST time stamp – Mali Hostage Crisis Ends With 27 People Dead, Including Five Attackers, Military Officials Say – All hostages have been released. The hotel is frequented by diplomats, businesspeople, and airline crews in rest status.
This article refers to the attackers as gunman. Later in article the groups in the north are referred to as Islamic radicals or al Qaeda-linked militants.
As to the religious dimension of the attack, the gunman released hostages who could recite professions of faith from the Koran. On the other hand, keep in mind that it was soldiers following the Muslim faith who stormed the building to rescue the hostages. Any soldiers shot by the terrorists were people who could easily recite large sections of the Koran.
BBC – Mali hotel attack: “No more hostage” after special force raid – Article says claims for responsibility are coming in from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and an offshoot called al-Murabitoun. Article says US soldiers assisted in the rescue; number and nature of assistance not specified.
BBC – Update time stamped 17:23 says one American special ops guy was on assignment to the US embassy and got involved when he heard what was going on. He was not part of the raid.
Update 11/21 – Wall Street Journal – Al Qaeda Allies Claim Responsibility for Mali Hostage Crisis – Two Al Qaeda affiliates claim responsibility for the slaughter in Bamako, Mali. They are the same groups mentioned in the BBC report above.
Current fatality count is 27. That includes 5 terrorists, 4 Malian soldiers, and 18 civilians. Note the Muslim terrorists killed Muslim soldiers.
Article has lots of deep background of these two groups. Article also suggests there is growing competition with ISIS. The splinter group, al Mourabitoun, reportedly lost a number of members to went over to ISIS. That the two groups claimed joint responsibility suggests they have healed their rift enough to work together again, according to the article.