Gunmen take dozens hostage at Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali

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At Least 150 Taken Hostage at Radisson Hotel in Mali


Islamist extremists armed with AK-47 rifles and grenades stormed a hotel packed with foreigners Friday in the former French colony of Mali, killing 20 people and briefly taking scores more hostage.

One American is confirmed dead in the attack, a State Department official said.

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Nineteen civilians and one member of the Malian security services were killed during the siege, United Nations spokesman Olivier Salgado told NBC News. Three jihadi attackers were also dead, the spokesman said.

But as Malian special forces and police searched the 190 rooms and suites at the Radisson Blu hotel for more bodies, officials warned the death toll could rise.

By 1 p.m. ET, the bloody siege in the capital of Bamako appeared to be over, a hotel receptionist manning the front desk told NBC News.

Images from the scene:

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Gunmen take dozens hostage at Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali
Tight security surrounds Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as he visits the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. Malian security forces were hunting "more than three" suspects after a brazen assault on a luxury hotel in the capital that killed 20 people plus two assailants, an army commander said Saturday. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Police tape cordons off the street of the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 21, 2015, a day after the deadly jihadist siege at the luxury hotel. Investigators in Mali were on November 21 hunting at least three people suspected of links to the jihadist siege that left at least 19 people dead. The government has declared a state of emergency after the bloody nine-hour hostage-taking at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, exactly a week after the Paris massacre. AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE (Photo credit should read HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)
Mali trooper assist a hostage, centre, to leave the scene, from the Radisson Blu hotel to safety after gunmen attacked the hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. Islamic extremists armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning, killing at least three people and initially taking numerous hostages, authorities said. (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)
A member of special forces checks under a car parked outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015, after the assault of security forces. Malian forces backed by French troops stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in the capital Bamako after suspected Islamist gunmen seized guests and staff in a nine-hour hostage crisis that left at least 18 people dead. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the 'horrific terrorist attack' on November 20, and indicated the violence was aimed at destroying peace efforts in the country. AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE (Photo credit should read HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of special forces are seen inside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015, after the assault of security forces. Suspected Islamist gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Mali's capital on November 20, firing automatic weapons and seizing more than 100 guests and staff in a hostage-taking that has left at least 22 people dead. AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE (Photo credit should read HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture taken of a room at the Radisson Blu hotel on November 21, 2015, the day after the deadly jihadist siege at the luxury hotel in the capital Bamako. Investigators in Mali were on November 21 hunting at least three people suspected of links to the jihadist siege that left at least 19 people dead. The government has declared a state of emergency after the bloody nine-hour hostage-taking at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, exactly a week after the Paris massacre. AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE (Photo credit should read HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)
The lifeless body of a person in front of 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/Baba Ahmed)
Mali security personal pick up the lifeless body of a victim inside 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/Baba Ahmed)
A body is removed from the Radisson Blu hotel, after it was stormed by gunmen during a attack 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)
In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, a security officer gives instructions to other security forces inside the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday Nov. 20, 2015. Men shouting "God is great" and armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed into the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning. (Mali TV ORTM, AP) 
In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, security forces help hostages to safety, inside the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday Nov. 20, 2015. Men shouting "God is great" and armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed into the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning. (Mali TV ORTM, AP)
In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, security forces help hostages to safety, inside the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday Nov. 20, 2015. Men shouting "God is great" and armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed into the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning. (Mali TV ORTM, AP)
In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, a member of the security forces walks past a body lying covered on the floor in the Radisson Blu Hotel hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday Nov. 20, 2015. Men shouting "God is great" and armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed into the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning. (Mali TV ORTM, AP) 
Security force personnel escort people fleeing from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. The company that runs the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital says assailants have takenhostages in a brazen assault involving grenades. (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)
In this image made available by Malikahere.com security personnel, right, attend close to the scene of an attack on a hotel in Bamako, Mali Friday Nov. 20, 2015. Men shouting "God is great" and armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed into the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning. (Malikahere.com via AP)
Malian troops take position near the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015. Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, seizing 170 guests and staff in an ongoing hostage-taking that has left at least three people dead. AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE (Photo credit should read HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)
Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015. Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, seizing 170 guests and staff in an ongoing hostage-taking that has left at least three people dead. AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE (Photo credit should read HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)
Malian security forces evacuate two women from an area surrounding the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015. Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, seizing 170 guests and staff in an ongoing hostage-taking that has left at least three people dead. AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE (Photo credit should read HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)
Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015. Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, seizing 170 guests and staff in an ongoing hostage-taking, the hotel chain said. AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIEN RIEUSSEC (Photo credit should read Sebastien RIEUSSEC/AFP/Getty Images)
People run to flee from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. The company that runs the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital says assailants have takenhostages in a brazen assault involving grenades. (AP Photo/Harouna Traore)
Malian security forces escort a hostage freed from the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015. Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, seizing 170 guests and staff in an ongoing hostage-taking that has left at least three people dead. AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE (Photo credit should read HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, security forces crouch down outside the Radisson Blu Hotel hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday Nov. 20, 2015. Men shouting "God is great" and armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed into the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning. (Mali TV ORTM, AP) 
In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, a woman is led away by security personnel from the Radisson Blu Hotel hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday Nov. 20, 2015. Men shouting "God is great" and armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed into the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning. (Mali TV ORTM, AP)
In this image made available by Malikahere.com security personnel, attend close to the scene of an attack on a hotel in Bamako, Mali Friday Nov. 20, 2015. Men shouting "God is great" and armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed into the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning. (Malikahere.com via AP)
Onlookers gather near the Radisson Blu hotel after gunmen stormed the building in Bamako, Mali, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. Men shouting "God is great" and armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed into the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning.(AP Photo/Harouna Traore)
Malian security forces prepare to transport hostages freed from the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015. Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, seizing 170 guests and staff in an ongoing hostage-taking that has left at least three people dead. AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE (Photo credit should read HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)
Malian security forces take position near the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015. Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, seizing 170 guests and staff in an ongoing hostage-taking, the hotel chain said. AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIEN RIEUSSEC (Photo credit should read Sebastien RIEUSSEC/AFP/Getty Images)
Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20, 2015. Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, seizing 170 guests and staff in an ongoing hostage-taking that has left at least three people dead. AFP PHOTO / HABIBOU KOUYATE (Photo credit should read HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, security forces help hostages to safety, inside the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, Friday Nov. 20, 2015. Men shouting "God is great" and armed with guns and throwing grenades stormed into the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital Friday morning. (Mali TV ORTM, AP)
Map locates Bamako, Mali; 1c x 3 inches; 46.5 mm x 76 mm;
Around 10 gunmen have stormed a hotel in #Mali and taken 170 hostages https://t.co/jORlDVglFu (Pic:Malikahere) https://t.co/QjhcILBe5F
'10 gunmen storm luxury hotel in Mali taking 170 hostage and shouting 'Allahu Akbar' https://t.co/Qn7ZPTFRLl https://t.co/Qso9tortWf
SECURITY MESSSAGE (1/4) The Embassy is aware of an ongoing active shooter operation at the Radisson Hotel.
SECURITY MESSAGE (2/4) The U.S. Embassy staff has been asked to shelter in place. All U.S. citizens should shelter in place.
SECURITY MESSAGE (3/4) Private U.S. citizens are encouraged to contact their families.
SECURITY MSG 4/4 Monitor local media for updates. US citizens should adhere to the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media
La fusillade au Radisson de Bamako semble sérieuse. Suivre la situation de près. #Aqmi #Barkhan #IBK https://t.co/Qq5PX932nm
170 people are locked in by attackers at the upscale Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali. More on #BBCAfricaLive https://t.co/E8xbSUURRv
#BREAKING: #Mali: at least 5 dead, hostages taken, inc. foreigners, in Terror attack at Radisson hotel in #Bamako https://t.co/82qSWYQppZ
170 hostages being held by jihadist gunmen inside #Mali hotel https://t.co/LLT5k13YQS
Breaking News: More than 150 hostages have been taken at a Radisson Hotel in Bamako, Mali https://t.co/eNHzM4qEDa
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About a dozen Americans were among those rescued and there are no reports that any U.S. citizens were killed or injured, State Department spokesman John Kirby said. It was unclear how many Americans were at the sprawling pink and cream colored hotel when the attack occurred, Kirby said.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms today's terrorist attack on the many Malian and international guests and employees of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako," the White House said in a statement. "We can confirm that the attack has ended, and we continue to coordinate with U.S officials on the ground to verify the location of all American citizens in Mali."

An al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group claimed credit for the attack, Reuters reported. NBC News could not immediately confirm that.

The mayhem in Mali came just days after the Iyad Ag Ghaly, the leader of the al Qaeda linked militant group Ansar Dine, called for attacks on France and its interests in the African country.

The deadly drama began around 7 a.m. when invaders shouting "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great" in Arabic, burst inside the hotel and opened fire on the guards and quickly took dozens of captives, Mali army commander Modibo Nama Traore told The Associated Press.

In the chaos, many of the guests managed to escape, but scores more fell into their clutches, the AP reported.

"The hotel is locked down and there is no possibility to go out or come in," a spokesman for Carlson Rezidor, owners of the hotel, told NBC News at the time.

Monique Kouame Affoue Ekonde, an Ivorian, recounted how she and six other people — including a Turkish woman — were escorted out by security forces as the gunmen rushed "toward the fifth or sixth floor."

Shortly after the shooting started, a U.S. special forces soldier in town for a UN peacekeeping conference rushed to help Malian troops move the escapees to safety, officials said.

The raid on the Radisson Blu, which is popular with foreigners and frequently used by airline crews, came a week after terrorists killed 130 people in Paris.

In response to Friday's terror, France announced the immediate dispatch of 50 elite counter-terrorism police to the country.

More from NBC News:
U.S. had Mali terror in crosshairs before siege
Mali hotel assault: Survivor heard attackers talking in English
Paris attacks: Who was the woman killed in terror raid?

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