18 killed in attack on Ivory Coast hotels
The United States and France have pledged assistance to Ivory Coast as the West African nation investigates a terror attack that left at least 18 people dead.
Gunmen stormed three hotels Sunday in the beach resort city of Grand-Bassam, officials said. Foreign nationals, including four French citizens and a German woman, were among the dead.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility on a social media account tied to the group.
Three soldiers and 15 civilians were among those killed, President Alassane Ouattara said as he visited the sites of the attack.
Three terrorists also were killed in the attack, the Ivory Coast presidency said on its Facebook page Monday, citing the Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko.
On Sunday, Ouattara had given the number of terrorists killed in the attack as six. No information was immediately available Monday clarifying the discrepancy.
The attack began shortly after midday Sunday when the beach at Grand-Bassam — about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the country’s largest city, Abidjan — reportedly was packed with people swimming, relaxing and eating at beachside cafes. The area is popular with wealthy Ivorians and Westerners, particularly on Sundays.
Eyewitnesses told CNN they heard sustained gunfire for about 15 minutes and saw people running and screaming from the three hotels.
“Truly, truly it was terrifying,” said Yapi Marie Claire, who witnessed the attack. “We never thought it could happen here under these circumstances. It’s truly not easy. It’s not easy.”
Describing a gunman, Kouakou Bertin said, “He shouted, ‘Allahu akbar,’ ” Arabic for God is great. “At that moment, three others arrived and started to shoot.”
nasty business..they are so brave these so called islamic warriors..how courageous is it to kill unarmed civilians including children and women?..allah would be ashamed wouldnt he?