An unknown terrorist group, believed to be linked to Al-Qaeda, has seized the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali. According to media reports at least 138 people remain inside and as many as three people have died.
According to the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which owns the Radisson in Mali, there are currently 125 guests and 13 employees in the hotel with the gunmen.
Al Jazeera reported that "10 gunmen stormed the hotel before firing on the guards and taking hostages." There have also been reports that the terrorists gained access to the hotel because their vehicles carried diplomatic license plates.
The United States Department of Defense confirmed to the BBC that US military officials are currently assisting with the hostage recovery efforts. The BBC reported that "around 25 (US) military personnel were in Bamako at the time of the attack and that some of them are helping 'with moving civilians to secured locations, while Malian forces clear the hotel of hostile gunmen.'"
France, the former colonial power controlling Mali, currently has at least 1,000 troops in Mali many of whom are left over from France's military intervention into the country in 2013. French President Francois Hollande announced during a televised address that France would assist Mali with all possible means in their response to the hotel attack.
The Radisson Blu is a popular hotel for international travellers including airline flight crews, UN workers, peacekeepers, and diplomats.