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Ivory Coast says 2 hotels attacked

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Posted at 2:31 PM, Mar 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-13 14:35:42-04

Gunmen attacked two hotels in southern Ivory Coast, the nation’s government said in a statement Sunday.

Security forces responded to the attacks in Grand-Bassam, which is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Abidjan.

Video from the scene appeared to show people fleeing. A photo posted by Twitter user @lopezdobe showed ammunition magazines and grenades on the ground near the attack site.

The victims include five men, five women and one child, the government said. But it did not specify if these reflected deaths or injuries.

Little was known about the victims. The U.S. Embassy in Abidjan reported that it had no evidence that U.S. citizens were targeted or harmed in the attack.

The French Embassy there said it had set up a crisis unit, and asked people to limit travel in the area and stay clear of security forces.

The identity of the gunmen was not immediately known, though jihadists have targeted hotels in West Africa before.

In the past year, two countries bordering Ivory Coast — Mali and Burkina Faso — have witnessed attacks on hotels popular with Westerners.

Ivory Coast itself has not been the target of terror attacks, but the threat of such an incident has risen since the country’s support of France’s 2013 military intervention targeting Islamic extremists in Mali, the U.S. State Department has said.

A terror group in Mali named Ivory Coast as a potential target for attacks in 2015, the State Department said.