An attack staged by gunmen at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali continued Friday afternoon, local time. President Barack Obama said he was monitoring the situation at the luxury hotel that left at least three dead, with attackers reportedly having taken 170 people hostage.
Malian state television reported that 80 people who had been in the hotel at the time of the attack have now been freed from the situation, which Obama said he had been briefed on by national security adviser Susan Rice, according to the Associated Press. As of 1:30 p.m. local time -- 8:30 a.m. EST -- the Rezidor Hotel group, which operates the Radisson, said 125 guests and 13 employees were still in the hotel, according to the AP. The hotel, located in the Malian capital of Bamako, was stormed by gunmen yelling "God is great!" in Arabic, according to the BBC.
Malian troops reacted quickly. People fled the violent scene near the hotel along a dirt road, and soldiers in full combat gear directed them toward safety. Local television has since shown armed troops in what seems to be the lobby of the hotel, which is popular with foreign business travelers and airline crews.
Images of the tense situation in Bamako, Mali, have begun to surface. Posted below are photos of the situation at the 190-room luxury property:
Malian forces were quick to react to the attack in Bamako.
Air France said in a statement that a crew staying in the hotel had been freed. One hostage told the Guardian, "The police and security forces helped us get out [of] the building. There are still lots of people in there. I also saw bodies in the lobby. It was absolutely horrible."
Forces in Bamako pointed people fleeing the scene toward safety.
It was estimated that some 125 guests and 13 staff members were remaining in the hotel, according to the Associated Press.