Gunmen attack resort in Mali

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.

The nationalities of the dead were a French-Malian, a French-Gabonese, a Chinese, a Portuguese and a Malian soldier, the ministry said. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, confirmed that two of the dead were working for its mission there.

Although the attackers succeeded in mounting a lethal assault, security forces backed by French and United Nations troops managed to rescue around 60 residents in two batches on Sunday night, including 13 French citizens and several children.

Some survived thanks to a hotel cashier who led them to a cave embedded in the red-earth hillside near the hotel, according to an interview he gave to Radio France International (RFI).

“This was without doubt a terrorist attack,” Security Minister Salif Traore told RFI on Monday.

His ministry’s statement added that authorities had killed four attackers and arrested five others.

Earlier in the day, Traore said some of the militants’ accomplices were still at large. Several security forces were still being treated for serious injuries. (AP)

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Gunmen attack resort in Mali

Photo taken June 19, 2017 shows burned barracks inside the Kangaba tourist resort in Bamako on June 20, 2017, a day after suspected jihadists stormed the resort, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead. (Habibou Kouyate/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

French President Emmanuel Macron flies over Gao in a military helicopter as he visits the troops of Operation Barkhane, France’s largest overseas military operation, in Gao, northern Mali, Friday, May 19, 2017. (Christophe Petit Tesson, Pool via AP)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

A picture taken on June 19, 2017 in Kangaba tourist resort near Bamako shows the smoldering remains after suspected jihadists stormed the resort on June 18, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead. (Michele Cattani/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

A picture taken on June 19, 2017 in Kangaba tourist resort near Bamako shows remains after suspected jihadists stormed the resort on June 18, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead. (Michele Cattani/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

A Malian police officer stands guard outside Campement Kangaba, a tourist resort near Bamako, Mali, June. 19, 2017. (Baba Ahmed/AP)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

Malian security drive towards Campement Kangaba, a tourist resort near Bamako, Mali, Monday, June. 19, 2017. (Baba Ahmed/AP)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

Malian Police officers take position outside Campement Kangaba, a tourist resort near Bamako, Mali, June. 19, 2017. (Baba Ahmed/AP)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

A UN helicopter searches for survivers in the area of Kangaba tourist resort near Bamako on June 19, 2017 after suspected jihadists stormed the resort on June 18, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead. (Michele Cattani/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

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)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

A vehicle of the gendarmarie is parked at the entrance to the Kangaba tourist resort in Bamako on June 19, 2017, a day after suspected jihadists stormed the resort, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead. (Habibou Kouyate/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

A fire started by attackers is seen billowing in Kangaba tourist resort in Bamako on June 18, 2017 after suspected jihadists stormed the resort, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead. (Michele Cattani/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

Malian and European forces walk at the entrance of the Kangaba tourist resort on the edge of Bamako on June 19, 2017, a day after suspected jihadists stormed the resort, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead. (Habibou Kouyate/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

United Nations armored personnel vehicles are stationed with an ambulance outside Campement Kangaba, a tourist resort near Bamako, Mali, Sunday, June 18, 2017. (Baba Ahmed/AP)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

People rescued from the Le Campement Kangaba resort following an attack where gunmen stormed the resort in Dougourakoro, to the east of the capital Bamako, Mali sit in a vehicle in this still frame taken from video June 18, 2017. (Reuters TV)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

A member of the Malian Security forces discusses operational details during a clearing operation in Kangaba tourist resort in Bamako on June 18, 2017 after suspected jihadists stormed the resort, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead.
(Michele Cattani/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

Malian police forces enter the Kangaba tourist resort in Bamako on June 19, 2017, a day after suspected jihadists stormed the resort, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead. (Habibou Kouyate/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

A soldier from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) stands while Malian forces carry on clearing operation in Kangaba tourist resort in Bamako on June 18, 2017 after suspected jihadists stormed the resort. (Michele Cattani/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

A picture taken on June 18, 2017 shows a sign at the entrance of Kangaba tourist resort in Bamako after suspected jihadists stormed the resort, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead.
(Michele Cattani/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

Malian police forces enter the Kangaba tourist resort in Bamako on June 19, 2017, a day after suspected jihadists stormed the resort, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead. (Habibou Kouyate/AFP/Getty Images)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

A sign points to Campement Kangaba, a hotel 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. (Baba Ahmed/AP)

Gunmen attack resort in Mali

An armoured vehicle drives towards Le Campement Kangaba resort following an attack where gunmen stormed the resort in Dougourakoro, to the east of the capital Bamako, Mali in this still frame taken from video June 18, 2017. (Reuters TV)

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