Multiple gunmen have stormed three hotels in the beach resort city of Grand-Bassam in the Ivory Coast on Sunday. So far, the death toll is at 16.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have claimed responsibility for the deadly string of attacks. They had confirmed their involvement through a post made in a social media account tied to the group. According to a report from CNN, the casualties include 14 civilians as well as two soldiers. It is believed that a French citizen and German national are among the dead.
According to President Alassane Ouattara, six of the attackers have also died. Following the attacks, French President Francois Hollande released a statement condemning the shootings, calling it a “cowardly attack.” Moreover, the French president also pledged to find out who was responsible. Meanwhile, the French Embassy had asked citizens to limit travel the affected area and to stay clear of security forces. At the same time, it has also set up a crisis unit.
At the same time, the British Foreign Office has sent a similar message to its citizens currently in the Ivory Coast. On the other hand, the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan had said that there seems to be no evidence of any U.S. citizen who was targeted or harmed during the recent shootings.
This is not the first time Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has targeted hotels located in West Africa. Last year, the group also claimed responsibility for hotel attacks in two countries that border the Ivory Coast. These included the deadly shootings in Mali and Burkina Faso.
The group is said to have roots in Algeria. Its operations in West Africa have escalated recently, as they look to target European nationals and other foreigners.