Source: DC connection to Mali hotel attack

The U.S. State Department says Islamic extremists stormed in a hotel in Bamako armed with guns and grenades as they took people hostage. At least 19 people were killed in the attack.

- A few people who work for a company that has an office in D.C. are staying in the hotel in Mali that came under attack Friday morning, a source tells FOX 5’s Holly Morris.

According to the source, the exact number of people is unknown, but they are staying at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, which was stormed by gunmen who took hostages.

The source told FOX 5 that they have heard from one of the employees, and she reported that she was hiding in the hotel.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby said around a dozen Americans, including some embassy personnel, were rescued from the hotel. But on Friday evening, state department officials said one American was among at least 20 people killed in the attack.

Mali’s ambassador to the United States, Tiena Coulibaly, told FOX 5 that he has been to the Raddison Blu Hotel that was attacked in Bamako several times. A short time ago, he held a teleconference with the defense minister of Mali.

Coulibaly said they are still working to identify who the attackers are, but they are suspected to be one of the jihadist Muslim groups operating in mail.

While their motives are unclear at this point, the ambassador said their mission was clear and that was to kill as many people as possible.

"What they want is that nobody would go to Mali and finance the economy, and if you don't finance the economy, then misery would progress,” Coulibaly said. “If misery progresses, that calls for more violence. That's what they want. They don't want peace in the world."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako is working to determine if more Americans are present in the hotel.

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 5 DC and FOX5DC.com for updates.

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