Armed jihadists have killed at least three people in a deadly shooting rampage and taken 170 hostages at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali.
Automatic weapons fire has been heard on the seventh floor of the 190-room hotel, where it is thought as many as 10 militants have been going floor to floor and taken 140 guests and 30 members of staff hostage. 80 hostages have since been freed as special forces entered the building.
The US embassy has confirmed that several American government personnel are among the 125 guests and 13 employees who remain trapped inside the besieged hotel.
No group has claimed responsibility for the hotel attack, which is frequently used by Air France crew, although Al Qaeda affiliated militants have previously carried out attacks in Mali.