MALI HOTEL SIEGE: About 20 Hostages Freed From Mali Radisson Blu Hotel - ARMY

Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015.
Sebastien Rieussec | AFP | Getty Images
Gunmen throwing grenades attacked Radisson Blu, a luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako early on Friday and seized about 170 hostages, a senior source with the security forces and witnesses said.

A Malian army commander told The Associated Press about 20 hostages have been released from Hotel. Military commander Modibo Naman Traore told The Associated Press that about 20 hostages were freed later in the morning.

According to The Associated Press, it was not immediately clear why the group was freed or how many exactly remained held by the militants. Traore said 10 gunmen stormed the hotel shouting "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great," in Arabic before firing on the guards and taking hostages.

Terrified civilians run for their lives through the streets of Bamako after escaping the hotel siege
According to Daily Mail, UK, several witnesses have claimed that the gunmen entered the hotel in a car with a diplomatic number plate before opening fire in the building.  'It's all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,' a security source said. 

Two Malians and one French national have been killed while three workers for Turkish Airlines and seven Chinese nationals are thought to be among the hostages. Three other Turkish Airlines employees have managed to escape from the hotel, Turkish officials confirmed. 

A statement from Rezidor Hotel Group, operator of the Mali hotel, said that 140 guests and 30 employees had been locked in.


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