Putin says wants global anti-terrorism fight after 19 killed in Mali attack

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What We Know About the Mali Hotel Attack

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday global cooperation was need to confront terrorism in the wake of an Islamist militant attack targeting foreigners in a luxury hotel in Mali that killed 19 people.

Friday's assault on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako came a week after militants killed 130 people in a spate of gun and bomb attacks in Paris claimed by Islamic State. France on Friday extended a state of emergency until February as police pursued raids and investigations, with over 250 people detained.

The bloodshed in Mali, a former French colony, was the latest sign of the problems faced by French troops and U.N. peacekeepers in restoring security in a West African state that has battled rebels and militants in its desert north for years.

The assault on the Radisson Blu hotel, claimed by jihadist groups Al Mourabitoun and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), ended when Malian commandos stormed the building and rescued 170 people, many of them foreigners.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said two militants were killed in the commando operation.

His government increased security at strategic points around Bamako at the start of a declared 10-day state of emergency.

Chinese President Xi Jinping condemned the "cruel and savage" attack, whose dead included three Chinese executives of a state-run railway firm.

The head of a Bamako hospital told Russian television channel LifeNews that at least two Russian citizens were killed. RIA news agency said Russians were among the dead, citing Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Putin sent a telegram of condolences to Keita and said "the widest international cooperation" was needed to confront global terrorism, according to a statement by the Kremlin.

On Tuesday, Putin promised to hunt down Islamist militants responsible for blowing up a Russian airliner over Egypt on Oct. 31 as well as intensified air strikes against militants in Syria, after the Kremlin concluded a bomb had destroyed the plane, killing 224 people.

Putin and French President Francois Hollande also spoke by phone on Tuesday and agreed to boost coordination of their military actions in fighting jihadist militants in Syria.

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Mali hostage situation at Radisson Blu hotel, terrorism
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Putin says wants global anti-terrorism fight after 19 killed in Mali attack
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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One American and a deputy from a regional parliament in Belgium were also killed in the Bamako hotel attack, though French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he was not aware of any French nationals killed.

FLEEING IN TERROR

The attack began at 7 a.m. on Friday when gunmen killed guards at the entrance of the hotel and barged inside.

Malian commandos subsequently stormed the hotel and rescued around 170 people, many of whom had been hiding under beds or in side-rooms and rushed terrified from the building to safety as shooting continued inside.

By around 4 p.m. the hotel was secured but Malians woke on Saturday to a sense of shock at the latest high-profile raid by Islamists this year.

"I feel bruised by this atrocious act, which cannot be justified. No nation, no human life deserves such criminal barbarity," said Oumar Fomba, a teacher. "I urge the Malian government to fight more fiercely against terrorism."

In a speech on the sidelines of a summit with Asian nations in Malaysia, U.S. President Barack Obama described the raid in Mali as "another awful reminder of the scourge of terrorism".

"Once again, this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge. We will stand with the people of Mali as they work to rid their country of terrorists and strengthen their democracy. With allies and partners, the United States will be relentless."

SETBACK FOR FRANCE

The attack was another jolting blow to France after the shock of the Paris carnage. France has stationed 3,500 troops in northern Mali to try to restore stability after a rebellion in 2012 by ethnic Tuaregs that was later hijacked by jihadists linked to al Qaeda.

"We (France) have proved to be as blind as the Malian elite. Nothing changes in Mali. The elite continues to act like it always has as does the international community," said Laurent Bigot, former undersecretary in charge of West Africa at France's foreign ministry, alluding to U.N. peacekeepers.

"People have been ringing the alarm bell for a long time, but it doesn't do any good," Bigot, who now works as a consultant, told Reuters.

The attack also cast a spotlight on a veteran leader of Al Mourabitoun, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a few months after reports, never confirmed, that he was killed in an air strike.

Northern Mali was occupied by Islamist fighters, some with links to al Qaeda, for most of 2012. They were driven out by a French-led military operation, but violence has continued.

Al Mourabitoun has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, including an assault on a hotel in the town of Sevare, 600 km (375 miles) northeast of Bamako, in August in which 17 people including five U.N. staff were killed.

One of its leaders is Belmokhtar, blamed for a large-scale assault on an Algerian gas field in 2013 and a major figure in insurgencies across North Africa.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, an Islamic State militant in Syria told Reuters the organization viewed France's military intervention in Mali as another reason to target France and French interests.

"This is just the beginning. We also haven't forgotten what happened in Mali," said the non-Syrian fighter, who was contacted online by Reuters. "The bitterness from Mali, the arrogance of the French, will not be forgotten at all."

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