Gunmen Attack Mali Hotel & Hostages Are Believed To Have Been Taken — UPDATE
Update: The situation at the Radisson Blu hotel is now reportedly under control after several harrowing hours, at least according to Malian general Didier Dacko, who told The New York Times that the perimeter of the hotel is secure, and that forces are "inside looking for the terrorists." The reported human cost of the attack, however, is high — the United Nations believes no less than 27 people were killed, after a reported 100 or so were taken hostage earlier in the day. According to CNN, six Americans so far have been saved from the hotel, and at least two of the gunmen have been killed.
Earlier: According to BBC, gunmen attacked a Mali hotel in the capital city of Bamako on Friday morning. Hostages are believed to have been taken at the Radisson Blu hotel, though it was not immediately clear how many. The attack reportedly began at around 8 a.m.
Gunfire and explosions were heard, and a hostage situation reportedly began after two or three gunmen arrived by a diplomatic vehicle and stormed the hotel, witnesses said, according to RT. A spokesperson for the Carlson Rezidor group, the owners of Radisson, told NBC News there were 170 hostages. "They have locked in about 140 guests and about 30 employees. So the hotel is locked down and there is no possibility to go out or come in."
Police have set up a security perimeter around the hotel, which largely caters to foreigners and businesses. U.N. forces have also been brought in to aid local police. At least three people were reportedly killed in the shootout, but that remained unconfirmed by authorities.
A security source told Agence France-Presse that the 190-room luxury hotel was under attack from jihadists. "It's all happening on the 7th floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor," the source said. According to The Daily Mail, one eyewitness claimed the gunmen were heard shouting "Allahu Akbar," an Islamic phrase that means "God is the greatest."
The U.S. Embassy in Mali tweeted it was aware of an active shooter operation at the hotel and asked U.S. nationals in Bamako to find shelter.
The shootout comes one week after terrorists launched a series of attacks throughout Paris, killing 129 people and wounding more than 350 others. Militant group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
This story is developing. Check back for updates...