The jihadist terrorists who open-fired on tourists at a beach resort in Côte d’Ivoire Sunday forced victims to shout out “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) before shooting them, according to eyewitnesses.
The six gunmen, now identified as members of the Islamist terror group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), carried out their killing spree Sunday morning outside three hotels in the beach town of Grand-Bassam, killing 16 people before being neutralized.
Al-Qaeda called the attackers “heroes” for the assault on the resort.
Witnesses said that the terrorists were young men, in their thirties, and a military official said that the gunmen “forced their victims to scream ‘Allahu Akbar’ before shooting them” while they themselves did the same.
During their rampage, the gunmen killed at least 14 civilians and two members of special forces, leaving the beach littered with bloody corpses before they could be taken away by security forces and Ivorian Red Cross workers.
One tourist was reportedly trying to make a call on his cell phone when one of the assailants came up from behind him and shot him in the head, while simultaneously yelling “Allahu akbar.”
The men were reportedly heavily armed with different sorts of weaponry. One witness, a Lebanese national who was staying at the Étoile du Sud Hotel, said that one of the attackers was carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle and wore a grenade belt.
All six assailants were eventually killed.
Sunday’s attack was the latest in a series of jihadist assaults on luxury hotels popular with Western tourists, with attacks in recent months in the capitals of neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso leaving dozens of people dead.
As in the Ivory Coast attack, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb also claimed responsibility for the lethal attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso in November 2015 and in January this year.
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