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In Mali Local TV shows photos of mastermind of hotel attack

The pictures on state television were of two young black men, one of them lying on a metal gurney.

Mali state television showed images on Monday of two dead men that it said were the “authors” of an attack by Islamist militants on a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako and appealed for information as to their identity.

Twenty people plus two gunmen died in Friday’s assault on the Radisson Blu hotel. The victims included six Russians, three Chinese, an American, a Belgian, a Senegalese and an Israeli.

Jihadist group Al Mourabitoun and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) declared they had carried out the attack in a joint operation against the hotel, a favourite of foreign businessmen and diplomats.

The pictures on state television were of two young black men, one of them lying on a metal gurney. The broadcaster appealed for those with information about them to come forward.

The bloodshed, which came a week after Islamic State attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, underlined deepening insecurity in Mali and the difficulties French and a 10,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force are having in stabilising the former French colony.

Chief prosecutor Boubacar Sidiki Samake, heading the investigation, said authorities had recovered mobile phones and machine pistols from the bodies of the two militants that will help them understand how the attack was conceived.

France, Belgium, Canada and the United States are providing technical assistance with the investigation, he added.

The Massina Liberation Front, blamed for previous violence in southern Mali, on Sunday became the third group to claim responsibility for the attack.

The al-Akhbar news agency of neighbouring Mauritania said it received an audio message in Arabic from Al Mourabitoun in which the group named two of its men it said staged the attack.

The message said the men died after mounting “stiff resistance” and called for further “resistance to the aggression of crusaders on the mujahideen of Mali”. It was not immediately possible to verify the message’s content.

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