At least 20 people are dead, including six assailants, after heavily-armed gunmen opened fire in the Ivory Coast resort town of Grand-Bassam 40 km (25 miles) east of the commercial hub of Abidjan on Sunday.
BREAKING: Ivory Coast president says 14 civilians, 6 assailants killed in attack on beach, hotels.
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 13, 2016
— OSAC (@OSACState) March 13, 2016
A government statement said gunmen attacked two hotels, CNN reports.
A government minister later said that six gunmen were “neutralised” by police forces, AFP reports.
#BREAKING Ivory Coast minister says '6 terrorists neutralised' after beach attack
— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 13, 2016
— GammeDIvoirien🇨🇮 (@CommeIvoir) March 13, 2016
The attackers were “heavily armed and wearing balaclavas, fired at guests at the L’Etoile du Sud, a large hotel which was full of expats in the current heatwave,” one witness told AFP.
Photographs from the scene show gun magazines and grenades in the area.
— Lopez Dobe (@lopezdobe) March 13, 2016
Early reports suggested that the United States Ambassador to Ivory Coast my have been the intended target. Daniel Finnan, a journalist with French media group Radio France Internationale, said on Twitter that the US embassy confirmed to him that the ambassador was not in the country, but a US delegation was in Bassam. The embassy could not confirm that Americans were harmed or “intended to be harmed”.
— Daniel Finnan (@Daniel_Finnan) March 13, 2016
Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the attack in a message posted on their Al Andalus Telegram channel.
AQIM has claimed responsibility for the attack in Grand Bassam Ivory Coast in a message posted on their Al Andalus Telegram channel
— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) March 13, 2016