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After hours of siege, Malian and USA special forces have launched the first offensive, then a second assault and have freed, according to State TV, eighty people who had been held hostage by the terrorists who had attacked the hotel Radisson Blu in Bamako, the capital of Malian this morning. The jihadists seem to have released spontaneously those able to recite from the Koran. There are at least 3 dead so far, including two Mali security men of the hotel, and a Frenchman. An unspecified number of terrorists (there are probably a dozen of them) are still barricaded inside the building together with hostages.

The place was blocked off and there are soldiers, police and Malian special forces, helped by Un Minusma peacekeeping forces, in addition to French troops, the men of the nearby embassy. From Paris departed towards Bamako about forty members of the French SWAT team in addition to about a dozen of experts of the scientific police. Among the hostages who were released there are 5 Turkish Airlines and 12 Air France crew members. As far as we know, at the time of the assault inside the hotel there were French, Indian, Chinese, Turkish and Guinean citizens. The Radisson Blu Hotel is a hotel with international clienteles, it is highly frequented by diplomats and foreign businessmen and is considered to be the safest in the city; it often houses Air France crew members who make a stopover in the city.

The jihadist attack on the hotel, situated in the residential area of the city, has started at around 7am.  The assailants arrived aboard a registered car with a diplomatic license plate: there have been gunshots and people shouting Allah Akbar, according to a witness. Sekouba Bambino Diabaté, a Guinean singer who had been trapped, then has managed to free himself, has told he had heard the terrorists talking to each other in English. According to al-Al Jazeera, jihadists are Ansar Dine’s men; Malian security, on the other hand, has called into question the militant group al-Mourabitoun, linked to Al Qaeda. French authorities have asked their fellow countrymen in the city to not come out of their houses and have closed the French school and high school of the capital. The entire northern sector of Malian was occupied by  jihadist militia, some of whom are connected to al-Qaeda. Many jihadist groups were driven out thanks to an international military operation born out of a French initiative, launched in January 2013 and which is still in progress. But some areas of the country still remain outside the control of Malian foreign forces. And if till not so long ago jihadist attacks concerned mainly the north, since the beginning of 2015 they have extended to the center and, since June, to the south of the country.

(The article is being updated)

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