Showing posts with label Terrorism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Terrorism. Show all posts

September 11, 2018

During Every Year in Every Commemoration We Still Need Those Friends of 9/11






Remembering the tragedy of - the only time in ’s history that Article 5, the Alliance’s collective defence clause, was invoked - stands in solidarity with our colleagues in front of the 9/11 memorial at .





April 23, 2018

Nine Dead in Toronto Car Plowing Thru Pedestrians Incident


Aerial footage shows emergency services treating pedestrians involved in the hit and run in Toronto

TORONTO (Reuters) - A driver plowed his white Ryder rental van into a crowd, killing nine people and injuring 16 on a busy Toronto sidewalk on a sunny Monday afternoon, police said. 
Toronto Deputy Chief Peter Yuen announced the casualties at a news conference. He said the driver was in custody. 
The incident occurred just before 1:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) as large crowds of office workers were on lunch breaks. At least one witness described the driver as appearing to deliberately target victims on his roughly mile-long (1.6 km-long) rampage. 
A Reuters witness saw at least two tarp-covered bodies at the site of the incident. Five people remained in critical condition at Sunnybrook Health Services Centre on Monday afternoon, the hospital said. 
It was not immediately clear if the incident was a deliberate act by the driver or a traffic mishap in a mixed commercial and residential area. 
Canada’s public safety minister, Ralph Goodale, declined to comment on what may have motivated the attack.  “The investigation is at a stage where no further information can be confirmed at this point,” Goodale told a news conference said. “The police are conducting obviously their thorough investigation to determine what happened and why it happened, the motivations involved.” 
Ryder System Inc (R.N) spokeswoman Claudia Panfil confirmed that one of the company’s rental vehicles had been involved in the incident and said the company was cooperating with authorities. 
There have been a string of deadly vehicle attacks in the United States and Europe, including an Oct. 31 attack in New York that killed eight. Islamic State militant group encourages its supporters to use vehicles for attacks. 
Toronto is hosting a Group of Seven foreign ministers meeting about 30 kms (18 miles) away from the scene of Monday’s deaths.  The crash occurred at the corner of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue in the north end of the city, said Toronto Police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray. 
A man who gave his name as Ali told CNN he saw the van and that the driver appeared to have been targeting people. 
“This person was intentionally doing this, he was killing everybody,” the man said. “He kept going, he kept going. People were getting hit, one after another.” 
He said a number of the victims were older people and at one point he saw a stroller fly into the air.  
At least one person was struck outside on the sidewalk outside an Anglican church, north of where the van came to rest in front of a currency exchange in a condominium tower. 
Yonge Street is large, divided boulevard at the point where the incident occurred, its center meridian dotted with planter boxes and sculptures. 
Some of the victims were struck in a public square popular with office workers on lunch breaks. Aerial photos of the scene posted on social media showed a food truck parked just a few feet away from where emergency workers busily transferred people onto stretchers. 
There was no noticeable change in security around the Intercontinental Hotel where the ministers of Canada, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan were meeting on Monday. 
Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny and Allison Martell in Toronto; Additional reporting by Jim Finkle, Nichola Saminather, Carlo Allegri and Julie Gordon; Writing by Andrea Hopkins and Scott Malone; Editing by Grant McCool

April 21, 2017

Officer Xavier Jugele 37, a Defender of Gay Rights killed in Paris






 He was a proud defender of gay rights, joining protests against Russia’s ban on “homosexual propaganda” before the 2014 Olympics. He once went to Greece to help police officers deal with migrants who had crossed the Aegean Sea and were seeking shelter in the European Union. He was among the officers who responded to a terrorist attack at the Bataclan in November 2015, and he was in the crowd when Sting helped reopen the concert hall a year later.

Xavier JugelĂ©, 37, a Paris police officer since 2010, himself fell victim to terrorism Thursday evening. He was in a police vehicle on the heavily guarded Champs-ÉlysĂ©es, Paris’s most famous boulevard, when a gunman opened fire, killing him and wounding two other officers, along with a bystander.

The gunman was shot dead as he tried to flee; the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack a short while later.

Officer Jugelé was mourned on Friday by friends and fellow officers.

“He was a simple man who loved his job, and he was really committed to the L.G.B.T. cause,” said MickaĂ«l Bucheron, president of Flag, a French association for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender police officers. “He joined the association a few years ago, and he protested with us when there was the homosexual propaganda ban at the Sochi Olympic Games.” 

The son of a former member of the armed forces, Officer Jugelé was born in 1979 in Bourges and grew up in Romorantin-Lanthenay in central France. He was in a civil union. He and his partner did not have children.

Before 2010, Officer Jugelé was part of the Gendarmerie, one of the two national police forces. He recently had farewell drinks with colleagues because he was set to leave the Paris force and join the Judicial Police, an agency that pursues suspects and serves search warrants, among other functions.

“He was aware of the risks of the job and the terrorist threat, although we did not speak a lot about it,” Mr. Bucheron said. “He was a great man and friend, it is a big shock for us.”

Flag also issued news releases on Facebook and Twitter.

Yves Lefebvre, secretary general of the police union UnitĂ© S.G.P. Police-Force Ouvrière, said that Officer JugelĂ© had been known for his professionalism and as “an excellent colleague.”

President François Hollande of France, speaking from the ÉlysĂ©e Palace on Thursday evening, said that an official tribute would be paid to Officer JugelĂ© in the coming days. 

Xavier Jugelé, the police officer killed on Thursday in Paris. Credit Association of L.G.B.T. Police in France
Matthias Fekl, the French interior minister, visited the hospital where the two wounded police officers were being treated and expressed his support on Twitter for their relatives.

France has been under a state of emergency since the attacks of November 2015 in and around Paris. Officer Jugelé was part of the team that responded to the Bataclan, where 90 people were killed. He returned to the concert hall a year later when the 19th-century building reopened.

“I’m happy to be here,” he told People Magazine in an interview. “Glad the Bataclan is reopening. It’s symbolic. We’re here tonight as witnesses. Here to defend our civic values. This concert’s to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists.”

The Interpreter Newsletter
Understand the world with sharp insight and commentary on the major news stories of the week.

Police and security officers have been especially concerned after a string of attacks targeting law enforcement:

■ Three police officers — Franck Brinsolaro, Clarissa Jean-Philippe and Ahmed Merabet — were killed in attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, on a Jewish grocery store and in a Paris suburb in 2015.

■ A year later, officers fatally shot a man who was wielding a cleaver and yelling “God is great” as he tried to attack a police station in northern Paris.

■ In June 2016, a Paris police captain, Jean-Baptiste Salvaing, was fatally stabbed at his home, along with his longtime partner, Jessica Schneider, a civil servant, who was killed as the couple’s 3-year-old son watched. The attack took place in Magnanville and was claimed by the Islamic State.

■ In February, a man armed with two large knives and shouting “God is great” lunged at a military patrol near an entrance to the Louvre. He was shot.

■ In March, a gunman was shot dead by a military patrol at Orly Airport, south of Paris, after he attacked a soldier, prompting a partial evacuation of the airport.

In response to the attack in Magnanville, France eased gun restrictions to allow off-duty police officers to carry their side arms, even when the nation is not under a state of emergency.

The 10,000 soldiers who have been deployed across France since January 2015 to secure crowded or sensitive areas have also been targeted over the past few years, often by lone assailants who were inspired by radical Islamist propaganda but had no connections to wider networks.

By 

March 23, 2017

We Are With You London! 8 Pictures to Remind Everyone




It is with great sadness that we published these pictures to remind every one of two things. First that the british were as prepared as you get, observing the events without having the experts tell us how better it can be done. Secondly of how well the british people have dealt with this in an emotional stand point. London was bombed by the Nazis on WW2 and they show today that same resilience.


 We feel so sad for the death of the by standers and the Police officer that first encountered the terrorist sand got stabbed. It was a good thing this man did not have a weapon as displayed in Belgium recently. We also send our love to to those injured and all of their families.
                                        We are with you

A woman ducks under a police tape after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017.
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A woman ducks under a police tape after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017. 
Police tapes off Parliament Square after reports of loud bangs, in London, Britain, March 22, 2017.
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Police tapes off Parliament Square after reports of loud bangs, in London, Britain, March 22, 2017. 
An air ambulance lands in Parliament Square during an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain March 22, 2017.
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An air ambulance lands in Parliament Square during an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain March 22, 2017. 
A woman lies injured after a shooting incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017.
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A woman lies injured after a shooting incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017.

Injured people are assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017.
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Injured people are assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017. 
Tawhid Tanim, an eyewitness to the incident tells VOA “It was quite loud. Three loud bang, bang, bang and then all of a sudden we could see on the road people started running like crazy.” (Photo: R. James / VOA)
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Tawhid Tanim, an eyewitness to the incident tells VOA “It was quite loud. Three loud bang, bang, bang and then all of a sudden we could see on the road people started running like crazy.” (Photo: R. James / VOA) 
Police tapes off Parliament Square after reports of loud bangs, in London, Britain, March 22, 2017.
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Police tapes off Parliament Square after reports of loud bangs, in London, Britain, March 22, 2017. 
Armed police officers stand guard inside a security cordon, outside of the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 22, 2017 during an emergency incident.
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Armed police officers stand guard inside a security cordon, outside of the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 22, 2017 during an emergency incident.Th

These 8 pictures were obtained from Voice of America

December 21, 2016

Picture of Tunisian Man Wanted in Berlin Terror Attack




The Independent Uk reports The image appeared to match those on a Facebook profile of a Tunisian man called Anis Amri.
Der Spiegel reported that the suspect was born in 1992 in the city of Tataouine, although he was also believed to go under at least two other aliases and gave authorities differing dates of birth.
In the district of Kleve, in North Rhine-Westphalia, he went under the name Ahmed A, 21, the Allgemeine Zeitung reported.
It was unclear when the suspect arrived in Germany but a confidential security database entry from February reportedly showed authorities believed he had links to Isis, which was reported to be using his hometown as a transit base for fighters last year.

German Police Looking for Tunisian Man in Terror Truck Killings





Image: Christmas market attack

The truck that crashed into a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany. Tobias Schwarz / AFP - Getty Images






German authorities scoured the country Wednesday for a Tunisian asylum seeker who is being sought in the truck rampage through a Christmas festival here that killed 12 people and injured 48.
Investigators don't know if there is more than one perpetrator at large. The new suspect emerged after police found documents in the truck belonging to a 24-year-old Tunisian national identified only as Anis A, the German magazine Spiegel reported on its website.
He was identified from a document relating to asylum that was found in the vehicle's cabin, Spiegel and Allgemeine Zeitung reported. The document said Anis A. was born in the southern Tunisian city of Tataouine in 1992, Spiegel said. It reported that he is also known by two aliases.
Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that he applied for asylum in April and received a temporary residence permit.
Photographs purporting to be of Anis A. were circulating on social media. 
A previous suspect, a 23-year-old Pakistani asylum seeker, was released Tuesday evening because prosecutors did not find enough evidence linking him to the incident. He denied any involvement in the assault.
Germany is treating the attack as terrorism, which the Islamic State said was carried out by a "soldier." No evidence has emerged establishing a connection to the militant group, which has staged and inspired assaults across Europe and the United States.
Berlin police urged people to be especially alert Wednesday and warned that the person or persons responsible were likely armed and dangerous. As of Tuesday night, police had received more than 500 tips about the attack. Security has been tightened in Berlin and across other European capital cities.
"I am relatively confident that we will perhaps tomorrow or in the near future be able to present a new suspect," Andre Schulz, the chairman of the Federation of German Detectives, told state broadcaster ZDF on Tuesday evening.
One report, by Berlin's RBB news, said the truck's driver may be injured and that police were using DNA recovered from the vehicle to see if the attacker was hiding among the injured in the hospital. A related theory circulating in German media is that the truck's original Polish driver, who was found dead at the scene, may have tried to fight the perpetrator and wrestle him for the steering wheel as the truck was being driven into the market. Police have not commented on that idea.
Six of the dead have been identified as German nationals, according to German news agency DPA, citing police. Another five have not yet been identified. The Polish driver was found dead in the truck's passenger seat. A woman from Italy and another from Israel were missing after the attack, according to DPA.
"We will not let cosmopolitan Berlin be taken by such a cowardly attack, by fear and terror," Berlin Mayor Michael MĂĽller said at a memorial service at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, close to the site of the attack, on Tuesday evening.
The prospect that the perpetrator is a recent migrant is fueling an anti-immigrant backlash in Germany, which has admitted nearly 1 million people fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa under Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal migration policy.

December 20, 2016

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Terror Attack in Berlin






The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the truck attack in Berlin on Monday. The attack has left at least 12 dead and dozens more injured.
NBC reports the Pakistani migrant who was arrested Tuesday as a suspect in the deadly truck attack on a crowded Christmas market in Germany has been released because of insufficient evidence. 
The man was arrested not far from the scene of Monday night's carnage in the German capital, where 12 people were killed and nearly 50 others wounded. 
But the Federal Prosecutor’s Office released him Tuesday night after investigators said they could not prove he was in the cabin of the truck during the rampage.
Local media identified the suspect as "Naved B.," a 23-year-old who entered Germany via Austria on Dec. 31, 2015. He was reportedly already known to police for minor offenses. Those reports could not immediately be confirmed by NBC News. 
De Maiziere said only a few of the victims had been identified so far, and that 18 of the 48 wounded had suffered severe injuries. 
Among the dead was a Polish man found shot to death inside the cab of the stolen truck. The weapon has not been found. 
Bloodstained clothing was also found inside the cab, but the suspect in custody was wearing clean clothes, Frank said. 
Christmas markets in Berlin were closed Tuesday as a mark of respect for the victims, but the interior ministry said other events around the country would take place with increased security measures.

July 15, 2016

Bastille Day Attacks (Timeline and self updating graph)



The details of the terror attack that occurred late Thursday night are still developing, Graphiq has put together a timeline and map of the events that will update as new developments become available.


July 1, 2016

Obama Made Offer to Putin He Can’t Refuse but Might





                                                                       





The Obama administration has offered to help Russia improve its targeting of terrorist groups in Syria if Moscow will stop bombing civilians and opposition fighters who have signed on to a cease-fire and use its influence to force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to do the same.

The offer early this week of what one administration official called “enhanced information sharing” does not include joint military planning, targeting or coordination with U.S. airstrikes or other operations in Syria.

But it would expand cooperation beyond the “deconfliction” talks the U.S. and Russian militaries began last year to ensure their planes do not run into each other in Syria’s increasingly crowded airspace.

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, who has long opposed any additional cooperation, said Thursday that if Russia would “do the right thing in Syria — that’s an important condition — as in all cases with Russia, we’re willing to work with them.”

“The Russians got off on the wrong foot in Syria,” Carter said. The stated purpose of airstrikes Russia began last fall was “to fight ISIL and . . . assist the political transition in Syria towards a post-Assad government.”

“They haven’t done either of those things,” he said. ISIL, along with ISIS and Daesh, is an alternative term for the Islamic State.

Senior administration officials declined to discuss details of the proposal, saying that publicizing the content of diplomatic talks would undermine their possible success.

“We’ve made no bones about the fact that if the Russians, with their military presence in Syria, proved to be willing to focus those efforts against Daesh, then that’s a conversation we would be willing to have,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

“There have been proposals offered by multiple parties,” he said. “We’re certainly not going to start laying those out publicly.”

The United States and Russia, while backing opposing sides in Syria’s civil war, co-chair an international task force that agreed early this year — along with Assad and the opposition — to support a “cessation of hostilities” and begin negotiations for a political solution that would allow the international community to turn its full attention to the fight against the Islamic State.


More than 400,000 Syrians have died in the civil war, which has also displaced half the population, with millions fleeing to neighboring countries and beyond.

The Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, are not parties to the truce. The administration has charged that Russia and Assad’s forces have violated it by continuing to launch airstrikes and other attacks on the anti-Assad opposition and civilians, under the guise of targeting the terrorist groups.

“What has prevented us from being able to more effectively coordinate militarily is that what the Russians have been militarily doing is propping up Assad and not going after ISIL,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Russia has defended its actions, and those of Assad, by saying that U.S.-backed opposition fighters are interwoven with Jabhat al-Nusra forces, especially around the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo.

While violations of the truce have escalated throughout Syria’s populated western third, Aleppo has become the epicenter of fighting. Jabhat al-Nusra forces are principally massed to the south of the city. While the administration has acknowledged some overlap in opposition-held areas to the north, officials charge that Russia’s principal interest in bombing there is to help Assad’s forces close rebel and humanitarian supply lines across the nearby Turkish border.

The advance of Islamic State fighters to areas close to Aleppo and other populated areas has also brought U.S. and Russian aircraft into closer proximity over the complicated Syrian battlefield. The Islamic State has rarely clashed with Assad.

In early May, as the cease-fire and U.N.-shepherded peace talks headed toward collapse, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed to send senior military officers to “sit at the same table” in Geneva, where they set up a center to monitor violations.

Weeks later Russia — which has long sought more coordination with the West in Syria — proposed joint airstrikes against Jabhat-al-Nusra with the U.S.-led coalition that is bombing Islamic State positions.


Although U.S. officials were dismissive, the proposal unsettled U.S.-backed opposition representatives, who feared a backroom U.S.-Russia deal. They have said they will not return to the negotiating table until the violence abates.

Kerry and other U.S. officials have remained in close contact with their Russian counterparts, trying out a series of possible initiatives to revitalize the cease-fire, including the new offer of increased intelligence sharing on terrorist positions. Kerry is “fixated” on the Syria issue, “and he will stay so,” Kirby said.

Kerry has long advocated a more robust U.S. strategy to help the anti-Assad opposition, including additional weapons systems and the possible bombing of Assad’s military assets. Internal unhappiness with the current strategy, and the humanitarian disaster the war has brought to Syria, led 51 U.S. diplomats last month to write an internal “dissent channel” appeal for U.S. military action.

While President Obama has steadily increased U.S. attacks against the Islamic State in Syria, he has rejected entreaties for more direct involvement in the civil war, saying that he does not see how it would improve the situation. 
But Obama has blessed efforts to persuade Russia to change its policies, including the intelligence offer.

Administration officials believe that the Russians have no deep attachment to Assad himself but fear his removal would spark a collapse of Syrian institutions and allow terrorist expansion — something the Obama administration has said will happen if Assad remains.

In an address Thursday to Russian ambassadors gathered in Moscow from across the world, President Vladi­mir Putin said that he was “prepared to work with any future president” and was interested in closer cooperation with the United States in international affairs.

“However, we consider unacceptable the approach on the part of the American establishment, which believes that they can decide in what issues they will cooperate with us,” Putin said.



November 21, 2015

This Morning French and Russian Jets Raid Syrian(Jihadists) Targets



                                                                     


The raids came a day after Moscow said it was a "terrorist attack" that brought down a Russian passenger jet over Egypt last month, killing all 224 people on board. 
Those deaths and the shootings and suicide bombings in Paris were claimed by the Islamic State, which declared a self-styled "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria last year.
Since Sunday, Russian and French raids have struck arms depots, barracks and other areas in Raqa city, the jihadists' bastion in northern Syria. 
"This is where we must hit Daesh, in its lifeblood," said French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, using the Arabic acronym for the group in comments late Wednesday.
A preliminary death toll by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said 72 hours of strikes "have left 33 dead and dozens wounded in IS ranks."
"The limited number of deaths can be explained by the fact that the jihadists had taken precautions," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman, who relies on a network of activists, medics and other sources inside Syria.
"There were only guards around the depots and barracks and most of those killed were at the checkpoints," he said.
The families of foreign fighters in IS, which number thousands, had left Raqa for Mosul, IS's relatively "safer" Iraq bastion. 
The Pentagon said Moscow warned Washington of its impending attacks on Raqa. This was to avoid any US planes in the area being endangered, spokesman Peter Cook said, which "wasn't necessary in this case".
- IS based in 'civilian homes' -
Aktham Alwany, a journalist and activist from Raqa, said civilians in the city were "only moving around when necessary."
"No one knows when the next strike is, whichever the nationality -- Russian, regime, coalition," and many are considering moving to the city's outskirts which are bombed less frequently, he said. 
"Unfortunately, it's no secret that IS's bases are inside civilian homes. There are some bases that look like they're for IS, but in reality they're empty fakes, while civilian homes are teeming with them," Alwany told AFP. 
Raqa city was Syria's first provincial capital lost by the government, seized by rebels in 2013 then overrun by IS in January 2014.
When the jihadist group captured Mosul in neighbouring Iraq in June 2014, its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a "caliphate" across Iraq and Syria.
The group's speedy expansion sparked a US-led coalition to begin carrying out air strikes on it in both Iraq and Syria. France began striking the latter as part of the coalition in September. 
And Moscow began its own air war in Syria, in coordination with embattled President Bashar al-Assad, on September 30.
But after the attacks in Paris and the downing of the Russian civilian airliner, France and Russia agreed to coordinate their military and security services to fight IS. 
On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin instructed his military to work with France "as allies," and agreed in a phone call with French President Francois Hollande on "closer contact and coordination" of operations in Syria. 
- Assad a 'lesser evil' -
And US President Barack Obama praised Russia as a "constructive partner" in international talks in Vienna aimed at reaching a solution to Syria's bloody conflict, which has left 250,000 dead. 
The US and France have been firm backers of Syria's uprising, while Russia and Iran have remained staunch allies of Assad. 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday it would be "simply unacceptable" to set Assad's departure as a precondition to "fight against terror." 
Although profound differences in policies remain, IS's attacks have shifted international focus on to the jihadist group. 
Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu said Wednesday Ankara "has plans" for a joint operation with the United States to root out IS's presence along its border with Syria. 
And Spain's foreign minister said engaging with Assad was a "lesser evil." 
"If you want peace, you are going to have get along with Assad at least on a temporary basis," Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said. 
Late Tuesday, Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate and key IS rival, Al-Nusra Front, said it had downed two Russian reconnaissance drones over an airbase it controls in northwestern Syria.
If confirmed, the incident would be the first time the armed opposition down a Russian aircraft in Syria.

Terror in Mali


                                                                                  
 People run to cover by the Blu Hotel

DAKAR, Senegal — Heavily armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” stormed a Radisson Blu hotel Friday morning in Bamako, the capital of the West African nation of Mali, seizing scores of hostages and leaving bodies strewn across the building. 

The gunmen barreled past the hotel’s light security early in the morning, confusing guards with fake diplomatic license plates, and then burst into its glass-door lobby with their guns blazing.

“They started firing everywhere,” said a receptionist at the hotel who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. “They were shouting, ‘Allahu akbar.’ They cut someone’s throat, a white man. That was awful.”

“I hid in my office,” he said. “I saw four of them, armed to the teeth.”

A senior United Nations official said that as many as 27 people had been killed, with bodies found in the basement and on the second floor, according to a preliminary assessment of the devastating attack.
 
Police officers blocked the street near La Terrasse restaurant in Bamako, Mali, on Saturday, after five people were shot dead overnight there in a suspected terrorist attack.Gunman Kills Five in Restaurant in MaliMARCH 7, 2015 
By late afternoon, the siege appeared to be ending. No more hostages were being held, said Col. Salif Traore, Mali’s minister of interior security. Two assailants had been killed, he said, but security forces were still sweeping the hotel for other attackers who had holed up in a corner of the hotel.

From early on during the attack, dozens of hostages, many of them crying – including women, children and older people — streamed out of the hotel after hiding in their rooms, said Amadou SidibĂ©, a local reporter at the scene.

According to the operators of the hotel, 125 guests and 13 employees were inside the hotel after the siege began.

An American Defense official said that 12 to 15 Americans were believed to be at the hotel when the gunmen first arrived. Six American citizens were recovered safely from the hotel, he said. The status of the others is not clear. 

The recent terrorist attacks have reignited a debate on the balance between civil liberties and national security. We would like to hear from you.
 
American Special Operations forces “are currently assisting hostage recovery efforts,” said Col. Mark Cheadle, a spokesman with the United States Africa Command. “U.S. forces have helped move civilians to secure locations, as Malian forces work to clear the hotel of hostile gunmen.”

The siege in Mali, a former French colony, came only a week after terrorists with assault rifles and suicide vests killed 129 people in attacks across Paris.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack in Mali. Al Jazeera reported that it had received a recording asserting that a local militant group, Al Mourabitoun, had carried out the siege in conjunction with Al Qaeda’s regional affiliate, though the claim could not be independently confirmed.

Qaeda supporters quickly praised the attack, with one even saying that the Islamic State “should learn a thing or two,” reflecting the rivalry between the two groups.
 
“We don’t want to scare our people, but we have already said that Mali will have to get used to situations like this,” President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, who was on a visit to neighboring Chad, told France 24. “We must all remain humble. No one, nowhere, is safe given the danger of terrorism.”

Northern Mali fell under the control of rebels and Islamist militants in 2012. A French-led offensive ousted them in 2013, but remnants of the militant groups have staged a number of attacks on United Nations peacekeepers and Malian forces. Hundreds of French soldiers remain in the country.

The Radisson Blu hotel is a popular place for foreigners to stay in Bamako, a city with a population approaching two million, and French citizens were among those taken hostage.
 
Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that two Germans were among the hostages who had been released from the hotel.

Four Belgians were registered in the hotel, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesman in that country. At least one of them, a 39-year-old Belgian working for the Wallonia-Brussels regional parliament, died during the attack. He was in Mali for three days for a meeting.

A diplomat at the Chinese embassy in Bamako said that eight Chinese business people had been trapped in the hotel as well. Embassy officials at the scene were in touch with some of the Chinese hostages by WeChat, a Chinese messaging service, the diplomat said.
 
Kassim Traoré, a Malian journalist who was in a building about 50 meters, or 160 feet, from the Radisson, said the attackers had told hostages to recite a declaration of Muslim faith as a way separating Muslims from non-Muslims. Those who could recite the declaration, the Shahada, were allowed to leave the hotel. The Shabab, a Qaeda affiliate in East Africa, used a similar approach in the attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in 2013.

The security forces moved through the hotel, floor by floor, freeing hostages as they went, Mr. Traoré added.

Some of the people who fled the hotel were not wearing any clothes as they were taken to a police station. 

[U.S. Military Played No Direct Role in Mali Crisis, Official Says]
 
“We were just evacuated from the hotel by security forces; I know that there are a lot of people inside right now,” one hostage who made it to safety told France24 television. “I saw bodies in the lobby. What is happening right now is really horrible.”

“I was hidden in my room barely a couple minutes, a couple seconds ago, and someone shouted, telling us to get out,” the hostage said. “My door was smashed open, the security forces arrived.”

Another French hostage, who did not want to be identified, told a friend in Bamako that a group of people were trapped on the roof of the hotel, along with the body of one person who had died in the attack. The hostage told the friend that the French Consulate had told hostages by text message to stay put and wait for a military assault. 

Kamissoko Lassine, the chief pastry chef of the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, said that two armed men arrived at the hotel between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.
 
Security forces evacuated residents from an area surrounding the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, on Friday. Credit Habibou Kouyate/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
“They were driving a vehicle with diplomatic plates,” he said. “You know how easy that is at the hotel? The guards just lifted the barrier.”

“They opened fire and wounded the guard at the front,” said Mr. Lassine, who said he was able to slip out a back door and make it home safely. “They took the hotel hostage and moved people into a big hall.”

A member of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Mali, who asked not to be identified, said there were many French people in the hotel, including Air France staff members, along with a delegation for the International Organization of French Speakers. Air France later said in a statement that 12 members of its crew had been at the hotel and were freed.

Five Turkish Airlines crew members, including pilots and flight attendants, have also been freed, while two remained inside the hotel, a Turkish government official said.
 
Mali has been crippled by instability since January, 2012, when rebels and Al Qaeda-linked militants — armed with the remnants of late Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s arsenal — began advancing through the country’s vast desert in the north and capturing towns.

A military coup, stirred in part by anger over the government’s handling of the insurrection, overthrew Mali’s elected government in March 2012. Amid the chaos, Islamist rebels managed to consolidate their hold on the northern part of the country, imposing a harsh version of Islamic law.

In January of 2013, the Islamist forces began advancing south from their northern stronghold, heading in the direction of Mali’s capital. France sent in troops to stop them. A brief military campaign halted the Islamist advance, recaptured towns like Timbuktu that had been under the militants’ control, and chased the remaining Islamist fighters back into the desert.

But in a shocking twist, other militants linked to Al Qaeda stormed a vast gas production facility in the desert of neighboring Algeria, taking dozens of expatriate workers hostage. Some 38 were killed during the siege of the gas plant. 

With hundreds of French troops still present in Mali and the country highly reliant on donors, elections in the summer of 2013 restored a democratic government. But its hold on the north remains weak.

There are frequent attacks by Islamist fighters, particular on United Nations troops, in the northern provinces. A shaky peace deal signed in June has not stopped the attacks, and in August five United Nations workers were killed in an assault on a hotel in central Mali. Five months before, militants killed five at a restaurant in Bamako.

The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, the operator of the Radisson Blu Hotel Bamako, said it was in contact with the local authorities, and the United States Embassy said it had issued a warning to staff members and American citizens to shelter in place. 

France has about 800 troops stationed in Mali as part of a larger 3,500-member regional force in West Africa. Only about a dozen or so of those troops are in Bamako itself, however.

There was no formal claim of responsibility for the siege, but supporters of the Islamic State were posting on Twitter in celebration of the attack under the hashtags #IslamicState, #ParisIsBurning and #Mali_Is_Burning.

In the assault in August, jihadists stormed a hotel in Sévaré, north of the capital, where United Nations staff members were staying, seizing hostages and killing at least five Malian soldiers and a United Nations contractor.


Dionne Searcey reported from from Dakar, Senegal, and Adam Nossiter from Paris. Reporting was contributed by Rukmini Callimachi, Lilia Blaise and Nabih Bulos from Paris, Saskia de Rothschild in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Jane Perlez from Beijing, Helene Cooper in Washington and Somini Sengupta at the United Nations.

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