INTERNATIONAL: American among dozens dead after Al Qaeda attack Mali hotel

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INTERNATIONAL: American among dozens dead after Al Qaeda attack Mali hotel
A Malian soldier takes cover behind a truck during exchanges of fire with jihadists in Gao, northern Mali, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
A Malian soldier takes cover behind a truck during exchanges of fire with jihadists in Gao, northern Mali, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
A Malian soldier takes cover behind a truck during exchanges of fire with jihadists in Gao, northern Mali, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

NEW YORK POST – Al Qaeda gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Mali’s capital Friday, seizing 170 hostages and leaving the building strewn with corpses — after picking off those who could not recite Koran verses, officials and witnesses said.

As many as 20 people, including one American, died in the siege at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, reports said.

US citizen Anita Ashok Datar, 41, had been working there for a nonprofit. She grew up in Flanders, NJ, and attended Rutgers and then Columbia, where she earned an MA in public health.

As many as 10 terrorists drove onto the grounds of the hotel in vehicles with fake diplomatic plates. They then opened fire with Kalashnikov rifles.

Carlos Lumu, an eyewitness whose girlfriend works at the hotel, described the first moments.

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