mali hotel siege hostages are freed but 27 are dead, and two gunmen have been killed. no confirmation on who was behind the attack, a group linked to al-qaeda, claims responsibility. ♪ hello there, this is al jazeera live from london. also coming up. the senate votes to extend the state of emergency in france. president hollande says mali has his country's full support. and the e.u. agrees to
tighten checks on people entering and leaving the border-free schengen zone. and jonathan pallard is freed after 30 years in jail. hello there. a warm welcome to the program. the united nations says 27 people have died in the mali hotel attack and two of the hostage takers were also killed. the u.n. secretary general ban ki-moon described the siege in bamako as a horrific terrorist attack. the reuters news agency says malian special forces are still trying to dislodge gunmen from the upper floors. nadim baba reports. >> reporter: soldiers helping an employee of the radisson blu out of the building after a hostage situation that lasted many hours. gunmen had managed to get inside
shouting god is great in arabic before taking around 170 people hostage. as the full extent of the attack became clear, many here were in shock. as the malian president flew home from chad, the government tried to reassure people. >> translator: this morning at 7:00 am the radisson hotel was attacked. there were two or three armed men who were able to walk into the hotel. we activated our crisis cell, including heads of military and officials from foreign security. >> reporter: following an assault involving united nations troops as well as mali, french, and u.s. special forces, reports started to come in of dead bodies being found inside the hotel. one of those who did make it out alive, told state television it
took a while to realize what was happening. at the beginning he says i thought it was firecrackers. then it continued and continued, and we heard it around the hotel. an armed group by split from al-qaeda's north african branch claimed responsibility for the attack. it said it wants its fighters freed from prisons, and the attacks in the north to stop. many of those inside the hotel were working for foreign companies, including national airlines. friday's deadly events will surely raise new questions about how stable this country really is. nadim baba, al jazeera. yvonne ndege has been monitoring developments from nigeria's capitol abuja. this is a confusing picture as
to whether the attackers are still in the hotel. what do we know at the moment? >> reporter: well, that's right, julie, there has been conflicting information about whether the hotel has come under the full security of the various security forces. official security forces who are trying to diffuse this situation. earlier there were reports that all of the hostages were out, that they had secured the building. that's french personnel, malian, and u.n. peace keepers. it now appears that may not be the case at all. there could be an ongoing battle between gunmen holed up in the hotel and the various security agencies. and that will tally up with some of the conflicting reports about the number of gunmen involved because it was first suggested that there were only two gunmen
involved. but in the last two or three hours that rose to between 10 to 15 gunmen, and that was coming from security sources on the ground and a couple of freelance journalists who were reporting from outside of the hotel. so even as we speak, it's not absolutely clear whether there's an ongoing situation in the hotel. whether the security services have been able to take full control of the hotel. it's just unclear. but it does appear that at least civilians are out of there. of course now people just reflecting on this awful news coming out of the united nations, this confirmation that at least 27 people so far appear to have been killed in this recent incident. >> and there has been a claim of responsibility, tell us about that. >> reporter: well, yes, that's right. one group that remains nameless so far, pledging allegiance to al-qaeda says it is behind this
attack. this again could be consistent with the sort of attacks that we have seen in mali in previous times. in march there was an attack on a restaurant in which expatriot workers working in mali were apparently killed. gunmen showed up and sprayed bullets in the restaurant, taking a few lives, and then in august there was something very similar to what is going on at the radisson blu, but not on the same scale, a central malian hotel came under siege by gunmen, and at least five united nations workers were killed. at the time a group claimed responsibility for those attacks, the two i described, a group saying they had some fort of affiliation or allegiance with al-qaeda, and so for many it appears -- it seems that potentially it could be the same people involved. it simply is not clear, julie, because we have had a number of
extremist organizations operating in mali since the political instability started around three years ago. >> yvonne ndege joining me there. thank you. well the attack on the radisson blu hotel is the latest incident in four years of growing instability in mali. in 2011, fighters of the tau -- toward rick community formed a militia. in january, the [ inaudible ] french military began operations against fighters in the north after an appeal from mali's government. june 2013, 120,000 united nations troops took over responsibility. a piece deal broke down after a few months. let's bring in jonathan
[ inaudible ] publisher of the magazine briefing. a very warm welcome to the program. what do we know about this group of attackers that have claimed responsibility? how much information do we have? >> this group is lead by the leader -- i forgot his name, who was actually responsible for the deadly attacks on some oil reservations in algeria in 2013, and it is affiliated to al-qaeda. but this leader the u.s. claimed killed him in an air raid in june. that's -- you know, is -- is yet to be proven, but this group is saying they are affiliated to al-qaeda, and [ inaudible ] this year, they have carried out some attacks in central and southern mali, killing more than 20
people. >> how sure can we be when these claims of responsibility are made? do you think we have to be careful when these claims are made? >> yeah, it is the first time this group has made such a claim on social media. media clips [ inaudible ] of the hotel, on twitter this afternoon. so it is yet to be verified. but one is bound to believe what is declared. >> by attacking a hotel with so many different nationalities in it, what do you think the broader strategy is? does it go beyond something purely domestic? >> we shouldn't forget that it was france when the [ inaudible ] tried to succeed, they were like, you know, northern mali forrest of the country, you know, it was hollande who sent troops, you know, to -- to rescue the situation if you would like,
yeah. and afterwards hollande made a visit to, you know, bamako. you know, before the under underun -- u.n. provided 120,000 troops. one could maybe link it to last week's atrocity in paris, right? on the other hand, this group is also -- is -- is at odds with isis. okay. isis was formed last year, and this group was -- is an offshoot of al-qaeda that was set up in the late '80s. right? so there is this sort of rivalry and each try to out do the other in terms of such atrocities. >> jonathan thank you so much for joining us. the french president has pledged his support for mali a week after the attacks in paris.
french authorities have confirmed the body recovered from an apartment in the suburb of saint-denis is that of the 26-year-old. she blew herself up during a police raid on wednesday. jonah hull reports now. >> reporter: are dreadful moments in bamako mali, when it appears a focus on targets with a french connection may have gone global. gunmen entered the hotel, and took hostages. there have been a number of deaths. president hollande said french forces on the ground would do what they can to help. >> translator: once again, terrorists want to mark their barbaric presence. we need to be firm and show our
solidarity to our friend, mali. there are tourists, people in charge of businesses, people of different nationalities in this hotel, because mali needs their support to rebuild and develop. >> reporter: at home in france, another police raid. more people taken away. this is said to be the mother avenue brother of the female suicide bomber who blew herself up on wednesday as police raided an apartment in the paris suburb of saint-denis. the prosecutor has identified the woman who is possibly a cousin of abdelhamid abaaoud, also killed in wednesday ease raid and identified as the architect of last friday's attacks. a neighborhood explained that she had been ill treated as a child, then removed from her parents by social services. >> translator: she was treated badly since her childhood. she slept attached to a ra
a -- radiator, she was electrocuted. >> reporter: in a further twist, the prosecutor says a third body was discovered in the rubble of saint-denis. identity as yet unknown. it was good intelligence that lead police to the building in saint-denis, and the death of abdelhamid abaaoud, but an apparently lack of intelligence allowed the attacks to happen in the first place, something the french prime minister has admitted poses serious questions. >> translator: we have learned that he was in the rubble of that apartment. the investigation has to continue to understand exactly why this man that was the subject of an nation warrant could cross so many borders in this way. >> reporter: in brussels meanwhile, european union interior and justice ministers have rallied to france's call for help.
meeting after france invoked though e.u. mutual assistance pakt for the first time ever. >> europe is standing by france. this meeting is of great importance. first of all let me remind you, that after charlie hebdo, i had proposed and finally it was done the creation of the counter terrorism center to europe. i believe this is a moment to make one more step forward and put the basis for the creation of a european intelligence agency. >> reporter: paris is back to business as usual in the rain. but everyone who passes the various attack sites, takes the time to stop and look, perhaps light a candle or leave a message in utter silence. life goes on, of course, but the awful events of a week ago, the
deaths of so many, have triggered consequences in france and abroad, that are only beginning to unfold. well the french senate has voted to extend the country try state of emergency for three months. it means police have more powers to carry out, arrests, and conduct raids without warrants, restrict the movement of people and vehicles, measures were approved by france's lower house on thursday. live now to paris and emma hayward. what has the reaction been there to the events taking place in mali. >> reporter: well the french president has been in constant contact with his malian counterpart offering assistance in any way france can. and we know that french special forces who are based in mali were involved in that operation to try to end that hostage situation at the radisson blu in bamako. there are more than 3,000 french
troops based in mali, that of course is the legacy of french intervention in 2013. france has also said it will do anything it can to help the french citizens living in mali. >> and what is the latest on the investigation into the paris attacks? >> reporter: well, i think most significantly the prosecutor has confirmed that a third body was found in the rubble at that apartment in saint-denis. the big question now is who was that person, who were they doing there, and how were they involved? i think it's worth taking a moment that we are almost exactly seven days since those attacks started here in france. and here people have come in large numbers today in the rain. they are here again this evening
to reflect on those lost. we now know that 130 people were killed almost exactly a week ago. >> emma thank you. european union interior ministers meeting in brussels have agreed to tighten checks at the block's external borders. france demanded the changes after the ringleader of last friday's attacks was able to slip in to europe through greece. >> translator: the strengthen of external border controls particularlyn the light of the terrorist threat is indispensable. we have been asking for this for a number of months, which is why the commission has agreed to table a draft reform of the schengen agreement by the end of the year.
we will carry out checks on all people entering the schengen area. this is a crucial change. the controls should be cross checked with the european sis data system, schengen information system, and interpol's database. it also means there has to be a better exchange of information between member states and we need to have real time up loading of information and data systems such as isis. paul brennan has the latest now from brussels. >> reporter: a very detailed examination, a very detailed explanation there. but let me try to cut through to layman's terms some of the measures he was referring to there. particularly the border controls. what we're talking about are the e.u. citizens who travel outside of the european union and then return. at the moment they are pretty much waved through by border controllers.
now their pass ports will be swiped and their data taken. and in that way a database will be built up for potential fighters who travel out of syria and return to the european continent. at the moment the feeling is they are not being tracked effectively enough. other measures include a much, much tighter security regime on the edge of the schengen area. we're talking about fingerprints being taken of ever refugee and immigrant who enters the schengen area, it is not happening at the moment largely because the states cannot cope. now there will be officers spent to the hot spots to assist the local officers on the ground so that concerns about jihadists or radical foreign fighters being trained in syria and smuggling
themselves back into the area, should be addressed by these kind of security measures. the alawite village built to help the children left orphaned by the deadly ebola virus. and asylum seekers turned away just 200 meters from christmas island. the only way to get better is to challenge yourself, and that's what we're doing at xfinity.
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attack, and two of the hostage takers were also killed. it's unclear whether gunmen remain in the hotel. a group with links to al-qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack. a former israeli spy has been released from prison in the united states after spending 30 years behind bars. jonathan pallard who was barn in the u.s. us, was arrested back in 1985. he was given a life sentence of being found guilty of selling u.s. secrets to israel. it has been the source of long-term conflict between the two nations. >> reporter: released from federal prison almost 30 years to the day after he was arrested for espionage activities jonathan pallard is now in
new york city where he is expected to live and where he has a job waiting for him. he was released from the federal prison in north carolina in the early hours of the morning under cover of darkness. he is on parole now and is forbidden to leave the united states for a period of at least five years. his attorneys are challenging some of the conditions of his parole. the prosecutor in the case told us just a short while ago that he considers pallard's activities to be among the ten worst cases of espionage in u.s. history, and the fact that it was done on behalf of a friendly power, he said, made it all the more unusual. he said that other countries, friendly countries do spy on the united states, and the united states as we know now from the edward snowden revelations, spies on other
countries as well. but rarely was it done on this scale with tens of thousands of highly classified documents changing hands and handed over to the israelis. it's worth noting that in 1985 as his scheme was unravelling and fbi agents were closing in, jonathan pallard drove to the israeli embassy here in washington, d.c. to try to get an asylum, but was turned away, and the israelis left their spy out in the cold. a new case of ebola has been discovered in liberia which had been declared free of the disease back in december. but many are still struggling to return to life as normal. some orphans are being looked after by relatives. our correspondent reports. >> reporter: this girl is nine
years old. both of her parents died from ebola. >> translator: i want to be a nurse when i grow up. [ inaudible ] so i could have saved my mom and dad. >> reporter: it is estimated there are almost 6,000 orphans in sierra leone due to ebola, many face stigma and isolation. the outbreak lead to an increase in orphans. the ministry of social welfare has worked to encourage relatives to take them in. they do offer some financial assistance to families. >> we don't want the situation we are in [ inaudible ] accepting the children at the end of the day, maybe a package or whatever [ inaudible ] they throw the children out. that is why we keep on monitoring. >> reporter: now she and other orphans from across the country are getting a second chance. ♪ >> reporter: in this welcoming ceremony they are introduced to
an sos village. they offer permanent homes. there are about 120 orphans here, including the ones that just arrived. they will live there and there is a place for them to play and a school to attend. but there is still concern with other orphans. others are still waiting for homes nationwide. sos's director worries some of those caring for orphans lack proper parents skills. >> these children are actually in a very difficult situation, and sierra leone faces a lot of challenges. >> reporter: the ministry says it has trained staff to do out reach and counseling has been offered to the children to. for now these children are in a
safe haven with a hopes for a brighter future for themselves and the country. al jazeera has learned that the australian navy has turned away a boat full of asylum seekers within 200 meters from christmas island. this is the second time the boat has been able to reach australia since 2013. >> reporter: we have spoken to a number of people who live on christmas island and saw this happen. a small green and white boat, and they said the boat was intercepted by an australian navy boat just a couple of hundred meters from shore and then escorted back out to sea, after which they lost sight of it. australia's government won't confirm or deny any of this.
but if it is the case that the boat of refugees got within just a couple of hundred meters from australian territory, it is significant, because it would be the first time that that has happened in well over a year. australian government says they have stopped the refugee from reaching australia through tough policies. if they success in getting through, they say they will be transferred immediately to what are effectively prisons with no prospect of ever being vetteled in this australia. there have been cases where boats have been turned back in international waters, the crew even paid to turn around. this boat was well inside australia's waters. what happens to the refugees if that's who they are on board from here? well, we will see, but this is certainly an embarrassment for australia's government evidence
they haven't stopped the boats in the way they claim they have. you can of course find out much more about the stories we're following on our website. we'll have all of the latest on that story out of mali. you'll find it at aljazeera.com. >> our fears are dancing between us. >> yeah? >> a woman's private pain examined for scientific research. >> it's so healing. >> instead of holding us down. >> she's on one of america's most popular party drugs. forget what you've heard about "molly", "x" or "mdma". >> it makes you feel euphoric, happiness, love.