Al Qaeda-affiliated group claims Mali hotel attack

Al Qaeda-affiliated group claims Mali hotel attack

© Stringer . / Reuters

Al-Mourabitoun, a group based in northern Mali and made up mostly of Tuaregs and Arabs, posted a message on Twitter saying it was behind the attack on the Radisson Blu hotel, where around 130 people were reported to be trapped or held hostage.

The claim could not immediately be verified.

Al-Mourabitoun, formed around two years ago and based in the Sahara Desert, is headed by former al Qaeda fighter Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

It has claimed responsibility for the death of five people last March in an attack on a restaurant in Bamako; a suicide attack on a group of U.N. peacekeepers in northern Mali in April in which at least three people died; and an attack on a hotel in Sevare in central Mali in August in which 17 people were killed.

(Reporting by Ali Abdelatti; Writing by Luke Baker; Editing by Kevin Liffey)