*UPDATE* Hostages have all been freed and at least 18 bodies have been found so far.
Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital of Bamako has reported that 138 people are still inside of hotel as Malian special forces storm the building to free hostages.
The gunmen stormed the the US owned hotel shooting while screaming, “God is great,” in Arabic.
At least 3 people were shot dead and two soldier wounded while 30 hostages have been freed.
US Department of Defense told BBC that US special forces were:
“currently assisting hostage recovery efforts”
France’s defense ministry also reported that their own special forces were on site as well.
UN peacekeeping forces were supporting the operation while the Malian special forces freed hostages one floor at a time.
A security source informed Reuters that some hostages were freed after a test if they were able to recite verses of the Koran.
The gunmen are speculated to be from Islamist militant group Ansar Dine, who’s leaders called for attacks on France just days ago.
Sources report that the gunmen wore masks and rode in vehicles with diplomatic plates.
French President Francois Hollande said:
“We should yet again stand firm and show our solidarity with a friendly country, Mali.”
We ask that you be with the hostages in Mali right now. Blanket them in our comforting grace and give them the peace of mind that help is on the way. Be with the forces trying to save them and protect them as they put their lives on the line. Finally, we ask that you soften the heart of the group responsible. Let them feel your grace and mercy flow through them so that they’ll let the hostages go.