At least 21 people have been killed after suspected Islamist militants stormed a luxury hotel in Mali's capital and took scores of guests and staff hostage.
What we know about the hostages:
- 170 (140 guests and 30 staff) taken hostage
- American, Turkish, French, Indian and Algerian nationals were in the hotel
- At least 19 hostages killed, including Russian and Chinese citizens
- Gunmen freed some, including those able to recite verses of the Koran
What we know about the gunmen:
- Reports as many as 10 attackers involved
- At least 2 attackers killed
- African Jihadist group claimed responsibility on Twitter, but not yet verified
- Attackers moved floor to floor in the hotel
- Gunmen heard shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) as they entered hotel
- Automatic weapons fire heard from outside hotel
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced the hostage death toll at 19 and said seven people were wounded in the attack. He said two militants had also died.
"Tonight the death toll is heavy," Mr Keita said on state television, declaring a 10-day state of emergency and three days of national mourning.
A total of 170 people, including many foreigners, were inside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako when the gunmen, driving a car with diplomatic plates, broke through security.
The hostages were held for several hours before Malian commandos made their move to free the hostages.
"They currently have no more hostages in their hands and forces are in the process of tracking them down," security minister Salif Traore told a news conference following the stand-off.
A UN official earlier said peacekeepers searching the hotel made a preliminary count of 27 bodies, but the figure was revised down by the president's office.
Chinese president Xi Jinping condemned the attack which claimed the lives of three Chinese executives with the state-owned China Railway Construction Corp.
Russia's foreign ministry has also announced some of its citizens were killed.
US president Barack Obama called the attack "appalling".
"This barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge," he said during a visit to Malaysia, referring to the global threat of extremist violence.
African jihadists claim responsibility
An African Jihadist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Al-Murabitoun, a group based in northern Mali and made up mostly of Tuaregs and Arabs, posted a message on Twitter saying it was responsible, as well as a video message that was broadcast by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television.
"We the Murabitoun, with the participation of our brothers from Al-Qaeda in the Islam Maghreb (AQIM), claim the hostage-taking operation at the Radisson hotel," said a man's voice in an audio recording.
A security source said the gunmen had dug in on the seventh floor of the hotel as special forces advanced on them.
US and French special forces were on site to help in the rescue operation.
State television showed footage of troops in camouflage fatigues wielding AK47s in the lobby of the Radisson Blu. In the background, a body lay under a brown blanket at the bottom of a flight of stairs.
Mr Traore said the gunmen burst through security at the hotel entrance at 7:00am local time, spraying the area with gunfire and shouting "Allahu Akbar", or "God is greatest" in Arabic.
Occasional bursts of gunfire were heard as the assailants went through the seven-storey building, room-by-room and floor-by-floor, one senior security source and a witness said.
Hostages who could recite Koran released
Some people were freed by the attackers after showing they could recite verses from the Koran, while others were brought out by security forces or managed to escape under their own steam.
One of the rescued hostages, celebrated Guinean singer Sekouba 'Bambino' Diabate, said he had overheard two of the assailants speaking in English as they searched the room next to his.
"We heard shots coming from the reception area. I didn't dare go out of my room because it felt like this wasn't just simple pistols — these were shots from military weapons," Mr Diabate said.
"The attackers went into the room next to mine. I stayed still, hidden under the bed, not making a noise," he said. "I heard them say in English 'Did you load it?', 'Let's go'."
A US defence official in Washington said about 25 US military personnel were in Bamako at the time of the incident, and were helping to move civilians to safety.
They later said "at least six" Americans had been rescued from the hostage situation.
Prior to the end of the stand-off, Air France said 12 flight crew were in the building but all were extracted safely.
A Turkish official said five Turkish Airlines staff had also managed to flee while Chinese state news agency Xinhua said three of 10 Chinese tourists caught inside had been rescued.
Twenty Indian nationals were also among the hostages, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said.
Seven Algerians were reportedly freed, a minister said.
President Keita cut short a trip to a regional summit in Chad to return to Bamako, his office said.
The shooting follows a nearly 24-hour siege and hostage-taking at another hotel in August in the central Malian town of Sevare.
Four soldiers, five UN workers and four attackers were killed.
Islamist groups have waged attacks in Mali despite a June peace deal between former Tuareg rebels in the north of the country and rival pro-government armed groups.
Northern Mali fell in March-April 2012 to Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups long concentrated in the area before being ousted by an ongoing French-led military operation launched in January 2013.
Despite the peace deal, large swathes of Mali remain beyond the control of government and foreign forces.