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Bartender, victim’s widow describe massacre at Ivory Coast beach

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Story highlights

Bartender says he served beer and food to visitors who seemed normal until they started shooting

Widow describes how normal Sunday at the beach turned into deadly terror attack that killed her husband

Senior Ivorian military source says there were advance warnings of possible attacks on coastal resorts

Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast CNN —  

The killers arrived driving a black Ford sedan. They spoke English and a foreign language. They were clean-shaven. They wore dark jeans and nice shoes, and they weren’t from the Ivory Coast.

Jean recounts his story at a worn-out table in a Grand-Bassam hotel as paramilitary police armed with AK-47s and rocket launchers listlessly patrol the beach.

Jean is too afraid to use his real name. He holds his dreadlocked head in his hands as he speaks.

“I helped them carry two heavy bags into my bar,” he says. “They asked about the music and women.” It was still morning, hours before the attack, when the killers came to this popular weekend beachside spot.

In propaganda releases, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb hailed the men who killed at least 19 people in Sunday’s attack at the Grand-Bassam beach resort as martyrs and “knights of the desert.”