Scene of hostage taking in Mali
Scene of hostage taking in MaliReuters

Mali was hunting Saturday for suspects wanted over the jihadist siege at a luxury hotel that left 19 people dead, mostly foreigners, AFP reports.

The government has declared a state of emergency after the bloody nine-hour hostage-taking at the Radisson Blu hotel in the capital Bamako on Friday, exactly a week after the Paris attacks.

The Al-Murabitoun group, an Al-Qaeda affiliate led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, claimed the attack.

Gunmen went on the rampage from the early morning, shooting in the corridors and taking 170 guests and staff hostage.

The assault, which ended when Malian and international troops stormed the hotel, left 19 people dead as well as two attackers, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said.

Authorities are now "actively pursuing" at least three people over the attack in the former French colony, one security source told AFP Saturday night.

Keita, who vowed in a televised address on the day of the siege that "terror will not win", visited the site Saturday.

"Nowhere in the world is one safe from these barbarians from another era," he said, adding that the attackers had "decided to break with humanity".

Mali will begin three days of national mourning Monday.

An Israeli, 58-year-old Shmuel Benalal, was among the victims of the attack.

Benalal was the CEO of the Telos consulting company that focuses on education and social issues, and he was in Mali on a business trip. He served as the senior advisor to governments in eastern Europe, Latin America, and southeastern Asia. Prior to this, he worked at developing Jewish education and ran a school in Mexico.