As I write, this news
just came in...
Gunmen attacked a luxury hotel in Bamako, Mali on Friday, taking 170 guests and hotel staff hostage, according the company that runs the hotel.
In a statement issued on its website, the Rezidor Hotel Group, which operates the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, said it “is aware of the hostage-taking that is ongoing at the property today, 20th November 2015. … Our safety and security teams and our corporate team are in constant contact with the local authorities in order to offer any support possible to re-instate safety and security at the hotel.”
Thirty of the hostages are hotel staff, the group said. The other 140 are guests. The statement said that “two persons” have locked in the 170 hostages.
Citing a security source, Reuters put the number of gunmen at 10.
Some background, courtesy Agence-France Presse
The shooting at the Radisson follows a nearly 24-hour siege and hostage-taking at another hotel in August in the central Malian town of Sevare in which five UN workers were killed, along with four soldiers and four attackers.
Five people, including a French citizen and a Belgian, were also killed in an attack at a restaurant in Bamako in March in the first such incident in the capital.
Islamist groups have continued to wage attacks in Mali despite a June peace deal between former Tuareg rebels in the north of the country and rival pro-government armed groups.
Northern Mali fell in March-April 2012 to Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups long concentrated in the area before being ousted by an ongoing French-led military operation launched in January 2013.
Despite the peace deal, large swathes of Mali remain beyond the control of government and foreign forces.
It's important to recall that, not long ago, David Petraeus and other neocons were urging an American alliance with Al Qaeda, because the program of regime change in Syria trumps all other concerns.
According to the Telegraph
, hostages are being freed if they can prove their ability to recite verses from the Koran. Apparently, Chinese nationals are among the hostages. I wonder how Beijing will react...?
Is a chemical attack coming soon? This
The Islamic State group is aggressively pursuing development of chemical weapons, setting up a branch dedicated to research and experiments with the help of scientists from Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the region, according to Iraqi and U.S. intelligence officials.
You gotta love these stories which quote unnamed spooks. Actually, ISIS has had access to chemical weapons for a while. Here's a story
from The Guardian, published in July of 2014.
And here is Sy Hersh's all-important account
On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’.
Okay, that's a reference to Nusra/Al Qaeda, not ISIS. But everyone know that ISIS and Nusra have worked together
and should now be considered "as one" operationally. I've already devoted many, many posts to exposing the fact that the anti-Assad rebels were the ones who used sarin in two Damascus suburbs in 2013.
Several recently-published stories have warned of an imminent chemical attack from ISIS. Most of these stories have appeared on right-wing sites, such as Brietbart, but some have not. See, for example, here
I suspect that we are being readied for something.