Anita Datar leaves behind a young son after she was mercilessly murdered by twisted Islamists
An American mother has been named among the victims of yesterday's horrifying Mali hotel terror attack, as experts examine if a British jihadist was involved in the massacre.
Aid worker Anita Datar was one of 27 people killed in the attack on the Raddison Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, on Friday.
The 41-year-old had been working in the city as a United States envoy when around 10 Islamic fanatics with machine guns and grenades stormed the hotel on Friday morning.
In a chilling twist, terror experts in the African country are thought to be working with French and US officials on examining the possibility that one or more of the attackers was British.
Kind: Anita was said to have been an aid worker hoping to help people in the African country
Tragic: The mother is survived by her young son
This comes after witnesses told how the attackers were speaking in English and in the wake of news that the man thought to be behind the attack, one-eyed Algerian beast Mokhtar Belmokhtar, was keen to bring in an English-speaking 'star terrorist' in the wake of Jihadi John.
In June a terrorist with an English accent was seen displaying hostages in an al-Qaeda video in Mali.
Although the raid ended yesterday, officials admitted they were still hunting three terrorists thought to have been behind the attack.
Mrs Datar, who grew up in New Jersey, is survived by her young son Rohan and following news of her death, her family released an emotional statement.
Islamists: Malian security officials show a jihadist flag they said belonged to attackers
They said: "We are devastated that Anita is gone - it's unbelievable to us that she has been killed in this senseless act of violence and terrorism.
"Anita was one of the kindest and most generous people we know. She loved her family and her work tremendously. Everything she did in her life she did to help others - as a mother, public health expert, daughter, sister and friend.
"And while we are angry and saddened that she has been killed, we know that she would want to promote education and healthcare to prevent violence and poverty at home and abroad, not intolerance."
The attack began early on Friday morning when gunmen shouting Islamic slogans attacked the Radisson Blu hotel, which is frequented by foreigners, taking 170 people hostage.
Up to 27 people were reported dead after Malian commandos stormed the hotel and dozens of people were reported to have escaped or been freed.
Representatives for US Africa Command said American military personnel were helping move civilians to safety as Malian forces cleared the Radisson Blu.
"Mali forces have the lead in Bamako," Africa Command said in a tweet. "Small team of U.S. troops assisting with relocating rescued hostages."
Army Colonel Mark Cheadle, a spokesman for Africa Command, had said six Americans were recovered from the hotel and he believed all were alive.
Raid: Special forces managed to recapture the hotel after the siege
Saved: Malian security forces escort a hostage freed from the Radisson Blu hotel
Another defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said five US Defense Department personnel were at the hotel at the time of the siege and all have been accounted for.
One US service member "who was at the location stepped in to assist first responders with moving civilians from the hotel to secure locations as Malian forces worked to clear the hotel of hostile gunmen," the official said. "US forces did not directly participate in the operation."
A senior US official said a security officer and a number of US troops assigned to the US Embassy in Bamako, who were in the area of the hotel at the time, were among the first on the scene.
The official said that when the US security officer and troops entered the building, it was filled with smoke from a fire in the hotel kitchen.
Flee: Dramatic pictures showed dozens of hostages being taken from the hotel by armed officers
Survivors: Heavily-armed special forces took back the hotel floor-by-floor
"The first person they could not locate visually due to smoke but could hear the person," the official said. The officers went to the third floor of the building, working their way down, helping to evacuate people.
"They could not get above the third floor initially because (attackers) had barricaded the stairs," the official added.
About 1,000 US special forces are deployed across Africa at any given time.
A Malian official told French television station BFMTV that all remaining hostages were safe and out of the hotel.
The US military was providing airlift support and aerial reconnaissance support to French forces in Mali under a 2013 agreement, Africa Command said.
US President Barack Obama, who is attending a regional summit in Malaysia, was briefed by his national security adviser on the Bamako situation, a White House official said on Friday.