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islamist attack


At least three people have been killed after gunmen launched an attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in the centre of Mali’s capital, Bamako.

Two gunmen have locked in 140 guests and 30 employees in “a hostage-taking situation”, the hotel’s US owners said.

The attackers entered the Radisson Blu Hotel, which is popular with expat workers, shooting and shouting “God is great!” in Arabic.

A Malian army commander told the AP news agency that about 20 hostages had been freed.

Hostages able to recite verses of the Koran were being released, a security source has told Reuters news agency.

Six staff from Turkish Airlines are staying at the hotel, and a Chinese guest told China’s state news agency Xinhua that he was among about seven Chinese tourists trapped there.Mali Radisson Blu attack

French newspaper Le Monde quoted the Malian security ministry as saying at least three hostages had been killed, AFP news agency reports.

In August, suspected Islamist gunmen killed 13 people, including five UN workers, during a hostage siege at a hotel in the central Malian town of Sevare.

France, the former colonial power in Mali, intervened in the country in January 2013 when al-Qaeda-linked militants threatened to march on Bamako after taking control of the north of the country.

“It’s all happening on the seventh floor, jihadists are firing in the corridor,” a security source told AFP.

Malian soldiers, police and Special Forces are on the scene along with some UN peacekeeping troops and French soldiers, the agency reports.

The US embassy in Bamako tweeted that all American citizens were asked “to shelter in place” and were “encouraged to contact their families”.

Some reports say about ten gunmen in total are involved in the attack.

The Rezidor Hotel Group, which owns the Radisson Blu, said it was in constant contact “with the local authorities in order offer any support possible to re-instate safety and security at the hotel”.

The UN force in Mali took over responsibility for security in the country from French and African troops in July 2013, after the main towns in the north had been recaptured from the Islamist militants.

This year’s Braunschweig Carnival parade has been called off at short notice in the northern German city, due to the threat of an Islamist attack, police said.

A “specific threat of an Islamist attack” was identified by state security sources, they said in a statement.

German police urged people planning to attend to stay at home.

The parade – a well-known regional attraction – was cancelled only 90 minutes before it was due to start.

“Many people arriving at the train station were already dressed up and very disappointed – but we didn’t want to take any risks,” police spokesman Thomas Geese was quoted as saying.

Photo Flickr

Photo Flickr

Braunschweig’s Carnival parade reportedly draws around 250,000 visitors each year. More than 4,000 participants in fancy dress march down a 4-mile route through the city.

The decision to call it off was taken by Mayor Ulrich Markurth and the parade’s marshal, Gerhard Baller.

“This is a sad day for our city,” Mayor Ulrich Markurth told public broadcaster NDR.

“The assessment of the police however left us with no other choice.”

Large carnival parades and street parties are held every year in the week before Lent in Catholic regions of Germany.

The cancellation comes hours after Danish police shot dead a man they believe was behind two deadly attacks earlier in Copenhagen, though one German police chief was quoted as saying there was no link.

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