Al-Qaeda affiliate claims I. Coast attack: US-based monitors

President Alassane Ouattara said six gunmen had been killed.

Monday March 14 2016

Ivory Coast's president Alassane Ouattara. 16 people have been killed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb gunmen at a resort on March 13, 2016. PHOTO | ISSOUF SANOGO | AFP

Ivory Coast's president Alassane Ouattara. 16 people have been killed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb gunmen at a resort on March 13, 2016. PHOTO | ISSOUF SANOGO | AFP 

By AFP
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WASHINGTON

Al-Qaeda's North African affiliate claimed a deadly attack by heavily-armed gunmen on an Ivory Coast resort on Sunday that killed at least 16 people, US-based monitors said.

In a message posted on its Telegram channels, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said three of its "heroes" had stormed the Grand-Bassam resort, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which is based just outside Washington.

President Alassane Ouattara said six gunmen had been killed.

The strike, which targeted three hotels in the former French colonial capital that is popular with Western expatriates, also killed 14 civilians and two special forces troops, he said.

"By the grace of Allah and His granting of success, three heroes from the knights of Qaedat al-Jihad in the Islamic Maghreb were able to storm the tourist resort 'Grand Bassam,' situated east of the city of Abidjan, in Ivory Coast," the SITE Intelligence Group quoted AQIM as saying.

One witness told AFP they heard one of the assailants shouting "Allahu Akbar" — Arabic for "God is greatest."

The resort lies on the Gulf of Guinea around 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of the commercial hub Abidjan.

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