One American was killed and at least six were rescued after gunmen raided a Radisson Blu hotel in the capital city of Bamako, Mali, on Friday, taking more than 100 people hostage. Anita Datar, an American public health worker and former Peace Corps volunteer, was killed in the attack, reported the Washington Post. Of the 26 American military members in Mali at the time of the attack, 22 were in Bamako and five were at the hotel, US Africa Command spokesman Army Col. Mark Cheadle told Air Force Magazine. The five military members inside were either on temporary duty assignment to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission or the US Embassy; “all have been accounted for,” he said. “One US servicemember, assigned to Special Operations Command Forward-North and West Africa, who was at the location, stepped in to assist Malian first responders to move civilians from the hotel to secure locations as the Malian forces worked to clear the hotel of hostile gunmen,” said Cheadle. However, he noted “US forces did not directly participate in the operation.” AFRICOM boss Gen. David Rodriguez, who spoke with reporters in Washington, D.C., as the situation unfolded, said the attackers likely were linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which stretches from Algeria and northern Mali to southwestern Libya.
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