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Reports: 18 bodies recovered in Mali, all hostages freed

There are no more hostages following the saga which played out at a luxury hotel in the capital, Bamako.

FILE: Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on 20 November, 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. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Eighteen bodies have reportedly been recovered from the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital Bamako following today's 10 hour hostage drama.

News agency AFP is reporting that all hostages have been now been freed.

It's unclear at this point if a counter siege is still underway against the gunmen.

Earlier, French special forces were at the scene helping local authorities.

Three people have been confirmed dead after the gunmen opened fire several times.

Earlier, some of the hostages were freed with many claiming they were forced to recite from the Quran.

It's believed that the attackers are however still inside the hotel.

Military analyst Cedric Leighton says the motive is yet to be determined.

"There's a global rivalry between al-Qaeda and Isis to launch bigger and bolder global attacks. Isis is getting into international attacks in a big way."

AL-QAEDA SUPPORTERS CLAIM RESPONSIBILITY

Supporters of an al-Qaeda affiliated group has now taken responsibility for the hostage drama at a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako.

The claim could not immediately be verified.

Washington says US Special Forces are also involved in a military operation.

MALI SPECIAL FORCES HELP FREEING HOSTAGES

Mali Special Forces freed nearly half of the 170 hostages seized by gunmen at the hotel today.

France has sent 50 elite troops to Mali to give and edge to the 1,000 soldiers they have in the former colony.

Terrorist gunmen are still in the Radisson Blue hotel in downtown Bamako, but the floor-by-floor rescue operation no longer underway.

Security authorities are trying to see if there's any linkage with this attack and terrorist operation in Paris a week ago that left 129 people dead.

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