Mali attacks: What you need to know

mali africa terrorist attacks
Mali troops, center, try to control a crowd of onlookers near the Radisson Blu hotel, after an attack by gunmen on the hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. Islamic extremists armed with guns and grenades stormed the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning, and security forces worked to free guests floor by floor. (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Here’s a brief rundown of what you need to know about a hostage situation at a hotel in Mali, Africa that has made national headlines Friday?

Where is Mali?

Mali is a country in northwest Africa. The attacks happened in the city of Bamako, the Mali’s capital and largest city, in the southwest part of the country,

MALI HOTEL ATTACK

What happened?

An Islamic extremist group, known as the Mourabitounes, claimed responsibility for the attack, in which a group of armed people stormed a luxury hotel in the city, killing at least 27 people and taking others hostage. The Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel group that operates the Bamako hotel said the assailants had “locked in” around 200 people in the attack on Friday. All hostages were freed by around 5 p.m. local time Friday (12 p.m. EST), although it is not clear how many of those originally taken hostage died. Forces from Mali’s army, as well as the U.S. army and French police, helped resolve the situation and continue to clear the hotel Friday evening.

Why did they do this?

The group said it wanted fighters freed from Mali’s prisons and for attacks against northern Malians to stop.

Is this attack related to what happened in Paris?

There was no clear evidence that the attack in Mali was related to a string of attacks in and around Paris on Nov. 13. Thursday, French President Francois Hollande complimented the country for its fight against jihadism, according to CNN.

What does this mean for the United States?

The U.S. military helped get hostages away from the scene of the attack Friday, as well as providing intelligence and surveillance support. A U.S. military official says at least six Americans have been evacuated from the Radisson Blu hotel. Other than those two details, there appeared to be no clear link to the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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