Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Al Qaeda-linked group claims deadly attack at Mali resort

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https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mali-security-idUSKBN1990TY

Al Qaeda-linked group claims deadly attack at Mali resort

By Idrissa Sangare and Adama Diarra | BAMAKO
A new alliance of Islamist militant groups linked to al Qaeda on Monday claimed responsibility for an attack that killed at least five people at a Mali luxury resort popular with Western expatriates just outside the capital Bamako.
The assailants stormed the hotel on Sunday afternoon, opening fire on guests and battling with French and Malian special forces deployed to try to free those trapped inside.
Mali's Security Ministry said in a statement late on Monday that four of the dead were guests and one was a local soldier who died in the firefight.

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French troops and a 10,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force have been battling to stabilize Mali, a former French colony, ever since France intervened in 2013 to push back jihadists and allied Tuareg rebels who had taken over the country's desert north a year earlier.
The alliance that claimed the attack, Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, was created earlier this year from a merger of local groups and is led by a notorious Tuareg commander. It was later endorsed by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Islamist groups have claimed increasingly frequent attacks on Western targets in Mali and the wider West Africa region, including a raid on a Bamako hotel in late 2015 which killed 20 people.
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