Mali hotel attack: Gunmen barged in, shot at ‘anything that moved’

Updated 9:39 PM EST, Sun November 22, 2015
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Story highlights

NEW: An American who survived the deadly attack describes her harrowing experience

An Israeli who advised Mali's government is among the dead, his family says

Mali declares a state of emergency

(CNN) —  

Gunmen who raided a Malian hotel shouted “Allahu akbar” as they sprayed bullets on tables of people who were gathered for breakfast, a witness said.

Otherwise, the attackers did not say a word to anyone as they opened fire Friday morning, employee Tamba Couye said.

They shot at “anything that moved” as terrified patrons dashed for cover all over the hotel, he said.

By the time Malian and U.N. security forces rushed in and ended the siege hours later, bodies were scattered across the floors of the Radisson Blu Hotel in the Malian capital.

At least 20 people were killed in the attack, the U.N. mission in Mali said in a statement Sunday.

Two attackers also died, but it’s unclear whether security forces killed them or whether they blew themselves up, mission spokesman Olivier Salgado said.

Employee: They shot at everyone

Couye was at the restaurant when attackers barged in.

“They started firing at the tables,” he said. “They walked through the hotel door and started to shoot at everybody. Then they returned to the restaurant and closed its doors.”

“One of the attackers was yelling ‘Allahu akbar!’ ” he said.

“These people started shooting. They were shooting at everybody without asking a single question. They were shooting at anything that moved,” Tamba Couye said of the attack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako.

The United Nations said two or three gunmen attacked the hotel.

’I saw … bullets’

Michael Skapoullis said he was using the hotel’s gym when he noticed fellow exercisers leaving. Though he was listening to music and hadn’t heard anything, he followed.

He walked to a door leading to the hotel lobby, and knew something was wrong.

“When I opened the door, I saw, on the floor, bullets,” he said. “So I gently closed the door.”

He fled back to the gym and eventually left the hotel using a side door.

01:03 - Source: CNN
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Armed police  operate in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Police say two suspects in last week's Paris attacks, a man and a woman, have been killed in a police operation north of the capital. Two police officers have been injured in the standoff. Police have said the operation is targeting the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks, believed to be holed up in an apartment in Saint-Denis with several other heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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Kathie Fazekas was getting ready to check out of the hotel when the attack began. As gunshots went off, the American specialist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention barricaded herself inside a room and wrote her husband an email.