Mali security minister: 4 jihadis killed in resort attack

Fire can be seen by the swimming pool of the Campement Kangaba, a tourist resort near Bamako, Mali, Sunday, June 18, 2017. Suspected jihadists attacked the hotel resort Sunday in Mali's capital, taking hostages at a spot popular with foreigners on the weekends. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Security forces killed at least four jihadis after the extremists attacked a resort spot popular with foreigners on the outskirts of Mali’s capital Sunday in which two people were killed, the country’s security minister said Monday.

“At this hour, all of the terrorists have been killed. The situation is under control,” Mali’s Security Minister Salif Traore told The Associated Press.

The jihadis on Sunday afternoon attacked Campement Kangaba, yelling “Allah Akbar” and took hostages. Authorities said more than 30 people managed to escape although at least two people were killed, including a dual French-Gabonese citizen.

Authorities had said that security forces initially killed at least three assailants, and a fourth had escaped. Traore confirmed that at least a fourth had been killed by Monday morning.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which took place amid the final week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

preview v001657 Mali security minister: 4 jihadis killed in resort attack
United Nations armored personnel vehicles are stationed with an ambulance outside Campement Kangaba, a tourist resort near Bamako, Mali, Sunday, June 18, 2017. A security official says suspected jihadists have attacked the resort in Mali’s capital that is popular with foreigners on the weekends. The official with the U.N. mission known as MINUSMA, said people had been killed and wounded but gave no immediate toll. There also were believed to be hostages inside the luxury resort area. The people inside the Campement Kangaba hotel come from multiple nationalities, he added. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)

Campement Kangaba features three swimming pools and is a popular escape from the Malian heat. Sunday’s violence came about a week after the U.S. State Department warned of possible attacks on Western diplomatic missions and other locations in Bamako that Westerners frequent.

Those at the resort when the attack began included people affiliated with the French military mission, as well as the U.N. and European Union missions in the country, said a U.N. official who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

Religious extremism in Mali once was limited to northern areas, prompting the French military in 2013 to lead a military operation to oust jihadis from power in the major towns in the north. But the militants have continued targeting Malian forces and peacekeepers, making it the deadliest U.N. mission in the world.

There are no French troops based in Bamako, but about 2,000 French troops are based in northern Mali fighting Islamic extremists. French President Emmanuel Macron was informed about the attack and was following the events carefully, according to an official in his office.

In recent years, the extremists have become more brazen, attacking sites frequented by Westerners. In March 2015, five people died when militants hit a popular restaurant in the capital. A devastating attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako later that year left 20 dead — six Malians and 14 foreigners. That attack was jointly claimed by both the regional al-Qaida affiliate and a group known as Al Mourabitoun, which was founded by Moktar Belmoktar after he fell out with al-Qaida leaders.

In a video released in March, jihadis said those two were joining together along with two Mali-based terror groups.

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Associated Press writers Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal, and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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