For the fourth time in a week, an act of terrorism has taken place. This time the location was in the African country of Mali, a former colony of France. Security officials stated that at least 10 masked terrorists attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel in the capitol city of Bamako. According to witnesses, the terrorists opened fire with AK-47 assault rifles and threw grenades before seizing the hotel and taking at least 170 hostages. The gunmen entered the hotel compound in a car with diplomatic license plates.
Allegedly, the men were heard shouting, “Allah Akbar” (“God is great”) as they gunned down victims. The government response not only included local security forces, but also American and French special forces who were in the country. The terrorists spared some victims and released a few hostages if they could recite verses of the Quran. At least 80 people were able to escape unharmed, which included about 22 Americans. Officials have stated at least 27 people have been killed including a Belgian diplomat. The US Embassy in Mali has warned Americans to “shelter in place” until the crisis is resolved. US Special Forces have taken the lead in clearing the hotel floor by floor and the hostage crisis is ongoing. The al-Qaeda affiliated group Al-Mourabitoun has claimed responsibility for the attack.