Smoke rises from site of Mali attack
Smoke rises from site of Mali attackReuters

An Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist alliance on Monday claimed responsibility for an attack on a tourist resort near Mali's capital that left five people dead, AFP reported.

The dead include members of a European Union mission to Mali.

The Group to Support Islam and Muslims, a fusion of jihadist groups with previous Al-Qaeda links, said in a statement that three of its "martyrs" had killed Westerners in Sunday's assault on the Kangaba Le Campement resort.

The group, also known as Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen in Arabic, said the attackers were from the Fula ethnic group and battled for "many hours" at the popular eco-lodge near Bamako, which it termed a site of "debauchery".

Their statement was quickly picked up by extremist monitor SITE and two Mauritanian news agencies known for reporting on the region's jihadist activity, after being posted on the group's Telegram channel.

Three foreigners, a Malian civilian and a Malian soldier were killed in the attack.

Witnesses said EU and UN staff raised the alert to speed up the deployment of Malian and French special forces when the shooting began at Kangaba.

Some assailants had shouted "Allahu Akbar", according to other witnesses interviewed.

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, speaking in Luxembourg, confirmed two of the victims were EU staff, a Portuguese soldier who was training troops in the Malian army and a Malian woman.

In 2015, terrorists affiliated with Al-Qaeda attacked a hotel in Bamako, taking more than 170 people hostage. During the attack, 20 hostages were killed, among them an Israeli, 58-year-old Shmuel Benalal.