WASHINGTON — The US has strongly condemned the “heinous attack” by armed Islamic extremists at a deluxe hotel in Mali that left 27 people dead and has promised assistance to the Malian government in its investigation of the tragic incident, reports the Press Trust of India (PTI).

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s terrorist attack on the many Malian and international guests and employees of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako,” National Security Council Spokesman Ned Price said on Friday.

“We are prepared to assist the Malian government in the coming days as it investigates this tragic terrorist attack,” he said.

Confirming that the attack has ended, Price said the US continues to coordinate with officials on the ground to verify the location of all American citizens in Mali.

“We extend our deep condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have been killed in this heinous attack. Our thoughts and prayers also are with those who have been injured,” he said.

“We commend the bravery of the Malian, French, United Nations, and US security personnel who responded to the situation and prevented even worse loss of life,” Price said.

He said the US stood with the people of Mali and will remain a steadfast partner to the Government of Mali and others in the region fighting the terrorist groups that seek to undermine Mali’s efforts to build a durable peace following the crisis in 2012 and 2013.

Ed Royce, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman said as a former Africa Subcommittee Chairman, he has seen first-hand how the governments in West Africa are out-gunned by the Islamist terrorists who are seeking sanctuary in the area.

“The French military has been a leader in attempting to disrupt the region’s terrorist networks. Our support to the French, Malian, and an international peacekeeping force is critical. We can’t afford another safe haven for radical jihadists,” Royce said.

Armed Islamist extremists barged into a luxury hotel in Bamako yesterday, taking 170 people hostage and killing at least 27 of them, while 20 captured Indians were evacuated unharmed. PNA/BERNAMA