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AT LEAST 27 DEAD AS GUNMEN SEIZE MORE THAN 100 AT MALI HOTEL


BAMAKO, Mali - Suspected militant gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Mali's capital on Friday (Nov 20), firing automatic weapons and seizing more than 100 guests and staff in a hostage-taking that left at least 27 people dead.
Special forces staged a dramatic floor-by-floor rescue at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, according to local television and security sources, to end the nine-hour siege.
The assault, which France has said was likely masterminded by notorious Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar(photo), added to fears over the global militant threat a week after the Paris massacre that left 130 people dead.
Malian television broadcast chaotic scenes from inside the hotel as police and other security personnel ushered bewildered guests along corridors and across the main lobby.
Malian security sources said at least 27 hostages had been killed, adding that French special forces had been "participating in operations alongside Malians".
"The hostage-taking is over. We are in the process of securing the hotel," a Malian military source said, as civil protection officers removed the victims in orange body bags.
Two US special forces troops who happened to be at the nearby US embassy for meetings assisted in the rescue of six Americans.

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