French special forces reach Mali hostage hotel: defence ministry

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French special forces have deployed at the luxury hotel in the Malian capital Bamako to assist in ending a mass hostage-taking, the French defence ministry said Friday.

"In response to the request from the Malian authorities, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian decided to send a unit of French special forces," the ministry said, adding they had come in from Burkina Faso.

The units were "in place from 2:00 pm French time (1300 GMT)", the ministry said.

US special forces are also involved in the operation at the Radisson Blu hotel and have rescued at least six Americans, a US military spokesman said.

Gunmen had seized 170 guests and staff including many foreigners in a hail of automatic gunfire, exactly a week after the deadly jihadist rampage in Paris.

© 2015 AFP

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