Security Council strongly condemns Mali attack

The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the horrifying terrorist attack" at the Radisson hotel in Mali's capital in the strongest terms and expressing support to Malian authorities in their fight against terrorist groups.

The council issued a statement late Friday calling on the authorities to swiftly investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The U.N.'s most powerful body also "strongly condemned any action that may undermine the peace process in Mali."

The council reaffirmed the need to combat threats to international peace and security "caused by terrorist acts."

A Chinese state-owned company says three of its senior executives have been killed in the Friday attack on a Radisson hotel in the Mali capital of Bamako.

China Railway Construction Corp. identified the victims Saturday as Zhou Tianxiang, general manager for the corporation's international group; Wang Xuanshang, a deputy general manager of the international group; and Chang Xuehui, general manager of the group's West Africa division.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also confirmed Saturday that three Chinese nationals were among the dead in the attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel, and that four other Chinese citizens have been rescued.

The Chinese Embassy in Mali says the seven Chinese were traveling to Mali on business.

President Barack Obama says the deadly assault on a hotel in Mali is yet another reminder that the "scourge of terrorism" threatens many nations.

And he says the "barbarity" shown by Islamic extremists at the Radisson hotel in the capital of Bamako "only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge."

The assault on the hotel came exactly one week after attacks coordinated by the Islamic State group left 130 people dead across Paris.

At least 20 were killed in Mali, including at least one American.

Obama says the U.S. is working to account for Americans who may have been at the hotel. He also extended condolences to families of the victims, and thanked the security forces who responded.

He spoke in Malaysia during a regional summit.

Family members say an American who was killed in a terror attack in a hotel in Mali lived in Maryland and worked for an international development agency.

Anita Datar, 41, of Takoma Park, a suburb of Washington, was among those killed in the attack Friday in Mali's capital, according to a statement from her family.

"We are devastated that Anita is gone," the statement said.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Datar was senior manager for field programs at Palladium International Development, which has offices in Washington. The profile says she worked on projects involving family planning and HIV. Datar previously served in the Peace Corp in Senegal.

The Washington Post reports that Datar has an elementary school-age son.

Mali state television says the government has declared a 10-day state of emergency beginning at midnight.

The announcement late Friday night attributed to the government also declared three-day period of national mourning beginning Monday for the dead in the attack at the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital.

The U.S. State Department says one American was among at least 19 people killed an attack Friday at a Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mail.

The department is declining to immediately identify the American victim out of respect for the family.

Secretary of State John Kerry is offering "deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and injured" in the assault.

Kerry says the U.S. Embassy in Bamako stands ready "to provide support to the Malian government in the investigation" of the incident.

He says, "These terrorist attacks will only deepen our shared resolve to fight terrorism."

A top army official says 22 people including the attackers were killed in the siege of a hotel in the Mali capital of Bamako.

Army Cmdr. Modibo Nama Traore said late Friday night that there appeared to have been two attackers, both of whom were killed.

He said a Malian gendarme was among the dead. He added that five people were injured including two Malian police, and that 126 people were safely evacuated.

At least two Canadians are safe after Islamic extremists stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital.

A clerk for the House of Commons and an employee of Quebec's national assembly were both in the hotel at the time of the attacks.

Patrice Martin, acting deputy principal clerk, in Mali on a diplomatic support mission was unharmed in the attack according to Commons spokeswoman Heather Bradley.

Earlier, a spokesperson for Quebec's national assembly said Maxime Carrier-Legare was also safe.

The United States says it is trying to verify the location of all American citizens in Mali after the deadly attack and siege at a hotel in its capital, Bamako.

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price says the U.S. condemns the attack in the strongest terms and commends the bravery of the Malian, French, United Nations and U.S. security personnel who responded to the situation and prevented even worse loss of life.

He says the U.S. is "prepared to assist the Malian government in the coming days as it investigates this tragic terrorist attack."

The death toll in the Mali hotel siege remains murky with France's defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian saying 18 people are dead at the hotel along with one Malian soldier killed in the fighting.

It wasn't immediately clear if the hotel dead included the gunmen.

The French report of 19 dead is lower than the 27 dead initially reported by the U.N.

A U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the operation was still ongoing, said a number of different casualty figures have been reported and the organization is working with authorities on the ground to get an exact number.

Germany's foreign minister says four of his country's citizens survived the siege in Bamako unharmed.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier says no Germans are known to have been injured in the attack

He paid tribute late Friday to Malian security forces and French forces who supported them in freeing the hostages.

Steinmeier said "today's terrorist attack makes clear again that there's still a long way to go before Mali is stabilized and that Islamic terrorism in the region hasn't been defeated yet."

He also reiterated that Germany is prepared to increase its involvement in Mali and the region. Germany currently has nine soldiers in Mali as part of the Minusma mission, and 200 as part of the EUTM training mission.

A spokeswoman for Quebec's national assembly says an employee of the institution was among the hostages freed after Islamic extremists stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital.

Noemie Cimon-Mattar said Friday Maxime Carrier-Legare was in the hotel but is now safe.

She said Carrier-Legare has been working as an adviser to an association of francophone parliaments since 2011."

UN mission spokesman Olivier Salgado says two attackers in the Mali hotel siege have been killed but he cannot yet confirm that operation is over. Security forces are going from room to room checking for more casualties.

Another U.N. official says initial reports from the field indicate that 27 people were killed in the attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital. It is not clear if that total included the bodies of the attackers.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the operation is still ongoing, said 12 bodies were found in the basement and 15 bodies were found on the second floor.

The official stressed, however, that operations are ongoing and that the building had yet to be totally cleared.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is condemning "the horrific terrorist attack" at the Radisson hotel in Mali's capital and expressing hope that it won't derail implementation of the peace agreement in the troubled West African nation.

Ban's spokesman, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, says the U.N. chief noted with concern that Friday's attack took place "at a time when the peace process is making good progress," and signatories were in Bamako to attend a meeting,

He says Ban is expressing "full support to the Malian authorities in their fight against terrorist and extremist groups" and sent condolences to the bereaved families and the many injured.

Dujarric says a U.N. peacekeeping force has been assisting Malian authorities in handling the crisis.

Dujarric said the three U.N. staff members in the hotel during the attack "were safely evacuated."

Malian state television is reporting that no more hostages are being held at a luxury hotel after a daylong siege by Islamic militants.

National broadcaster ORTM, citing security officials, said 18 bodies were found at the hotel so far and that no more hostages were being held.

It was not immediately clear whether the attackers were still inside.

Gunfire continued into the late afternoon, and Malian army commander Modibo Nama Traore said operations were continuing.

An extremist group that two years ago split from al-Qaida's North Africa branch and led by Moktar Belmoktar claimed responsibility for the attack, in a recorded statement carried by Al-Jazeera. The group said it wanted fighters freed from Mali's prisons and for attacks against northern Malians to stop.

The group, known as the Mourabitounes, was formed in 2013 after Belmoktar left al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and fused with a Malian militant group. The statement issued Friday said the Mourabitounes had attacked in coordination with the "Sahara Emirate" affiliated with al-Qaida.

United Nations deputy spokesman Farhan Haq says U.N. "quick-reaction forces" have been deployed to the siege area at the Radisson Blu hotel and are supporting Malian and other security forces.

But he said that U.N. peacekeeping troops are not conducting operations. He said the United Nations had a few staff members in the hotel at the time of the attack but they are all safely out.

Separately, the French Defense Ministry says a unit of French soldiers has arrived in Bamako in support of Malian security forces. It did not specify how many soldiers were involved.

France has 3,500 troops operating in Mali and four other countries in the Sahel region as part of a five-nation counterterrorism operation codenamed Barkhane.

A U.S. military official says at least six Americans have been evacuated from the Radisson Blu hotel.

U.S. military personnel already stationed in the country have been helping take people from the hotel to safety.

Col. Mark R. Cheadle, a spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command, says the U.S. military hasn't received any other requests for help responding to the attack, but that the United States will continue assisting the French with intelligence and surveillance in Mali.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls meanwhile is expressing his support for Mali, France's former West African colony, saying it is a country "that fights jihadism so bravely."

France's national gendarme service says "about 40" French special police forces are taking part in the assault on the Radisson Blu hotel.

A spokesman for the service who was not authorized to be publicly named said the forces are permanently based in Bamako, primarily to secure the French Embassy.

He said they are currently "playing a supporting role" alongside local security forces.

A spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command says U.S. military forces stationed in Mali are helping to secure the scene of the hotel attack in Mali.

Col. Mark R. Cheadle says American military personnel "have helped move civilians to secure locations, as Malian forces work to clear the hotel of hostile gunmen."

U.S. State Dept. spokesman John Kirby says Americans "might be present at the hotel," and that the U.S. Embassy in Bamako is working to verify this.

The Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel group that operates the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako when the assault began says 125 guests and 13 employees are still in the hotel.

Separately, Germany's foreign minister says that two Germans who were taken hostage in the hotel have been set free.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters on Friday during a visit to Zambia that is unclear whether any other Germans were in the hotel, the dpa news agency reported.

Malian state TV says 80 people who were in the hotel in Bamako when the assault began have now been freed. The special forces were continuing their operation to end the standoff.

Earlier, the Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel group that operates the Bamako hotel said the assailants had "locked in" 140 guests and 30 employees in the attack on Friday.

Malian troops reacted quickly. As people ran for their lives near the hotel along a dirt road, the soldiers in full combat gear pointed the way to safety. Within hours, local TV images showed heavily armed troops in what appeared to be a lobby area.

President Barack Obama says he's monitoring the situation playing out in Mali.

Obama made the brief comment about hotel attack after a meeting in Kuala Lumpur with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. He didn't offer any additional details.

The White House says Obama was briefed about the attack by his national security adviser, Susan Rice. White House officials say Obama has asked to be kept updated about new developments.

Malian army commander, Modibo Nama Traore, says Malian special forces have entered the hotel and are freeing hostages "floor by floor."

He says at least 30 hostages have been freed already and that Malian security forces are trying to make contact with the assailants.

Traore says at least one guest earlier reported that the attackers instructed him to recite verses from the Quran before he was allowed to leave the hotel.

Air France says 12 members of one of its plane crew who are staying at the attacked hotel in Bamako are all safe.

Air France spokeswoman Ulli Gendrot told The Associated Press that the "the crew is in a safe place." She said the 12 included two pilots.

French President Francois Hollande says France is ready to help Mali with all means necessary in the wake of the hotel attack in the capital, Bamako.

Hollande asks all French citizens in Mali to make contact with the French Embassy there "in order that everything is made to offer them protection."

In Belgium, Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said there were four Belgians registered at the attacked hotel but it's unclear if they were taken hostage by the gunmen or not.

Reynders also said there are "15 hostages who have been freed after an intervention" but didn't provide more details.

Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has cut short its tip to Chad where he was attending a meeting of G5 Sahel.

The Mali presidency said on Twitter that Keita will be back to Bamako "in the next hours."

Meanwhile, France's national gendarme service says about 50 elite police troops are en route from Paris to Bamako.

A spokesman for the service who was not authorized to be publicly named said they are heading Friday from two different units of special police forces trained for emergency situations.

Air France has cancelled its Paris-Bamako flight after gunmen attacked a hotel in the Mali capital.

Air France spokesman Ulli Gendrot said the "3852 flight has been canceled." It was due later Friday.

The attackers seized about 170 hostages on Friday morning at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

A Malian military official has said at least three people are confirmed dead in the attack and that more than 100 hostages are believed to be held.