Al-Qaeda-Linked Group Claims Mali Restaurant Attack
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - An al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a restaurant and bar in Mali's capital, Bamako, according to Mauritanian news media.
A masked assailant sprayed bullets on Saturday into La Terrasse, a restaurant and bar that is popular with foreigners, killing five people, including a Frenchman and a Belgian.
Al Mourabitoun, or The Sentinels, a northern Mali armed group allied with al-Qaeda, said it was behind the violence in Bamako.
The claim of responsibility was carried on the Mauritanian news website Al-Akhbar, which often receives messages from Malian armed groups.
Al Mourabitoun was formed by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the Algerian commander of al-Qaeda's North African operations who said the attack was a reprisal "against the heathen West which has offended our prophet" and revenge for the killing of a leader of the Al Mourabitoun group in a French-Malian military operation.
The attack at La Terrasse, shocked Malians. In addition to those killed, nine people were wounded, including two experts for the UN mission, according to the UN stabilisation mission in Mali.
Armed groups seized control of northern Mali in 2012, Al Jazeera reported.
French forces led a military operation in early 2013 that largely killed or scattered armed groups from the vast area they had controlled in northeastern Mali, and a stabilisation mission continues amid sporadic attacks.