Mali hotel siege ends with at least 21 dead
Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar reported 21 people killed in an Islamist attack on the Radisson Blue Hotel in Bamako Friday, and seven people injured. The President said on state television that the dead included two gunmen. Saturday, the State Department revealed the death of US aid worker Anita Ashok Datar. The attack on the luxury hotel in the Mali capital that was full of foreigners was claimed by the fierce Mourabitun branch of North African Al Qaeda (AQIM). Two of the gunmen, who took 150 visitors and staff hostage, were killed in a raid by Malian special forces led by French counter-terror troops and “assisted” by 25 US special operations forces. The number of hostages who survived has not been released, although Malian forces swept the 190-room American-owned hotel from room to room. A statement Friday night said that all 22 US Defense Department citizens in the Mali hotel were accounted for. Some of the hostages, mostly Indian, Chinese and Algerian, were freed by the gunmen when they proved they were Muslims by quoting Qoran verses.