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Al-Qaida claims responsibility for Ivory Coast hotel shootings; 16 dead

By Amy R. Connolly and Danielle Haynes   |   Updated March 13, 2016 at 10:30 PM

GRAND BASSAM, Ivory Coast, March 13 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb quickly claimed responsibility for deadly attacks at three beach hotels in the Ivory Coast resort town of Grand Bassam.

At least 16 people, including two soldiers and a 5-year-old child, were killed when gunmen opened fire at the hotels.

Six attackers also were killed at the beach, located about 25 miles from the city of Abidjan.

"The situation is under control," President Alassane Ouattara said on state television. "We are continuing to reinforce security in Grand Bassam, in Abidjan, and in the whole Ivorian territory."

French President Francois Hollande said at least one French national was killed in the attack. The French Embassy said it set up a crisis center and asked people to limit their travel.

The U.S. Embassy in Abidjan said officials are "monitoring the situation in Grand Bassam. No evidence that U.S. citizens were targeted nor confirmed reports of any U.S. citizens as harmed."

The resort town is a popular vacation spot for locals and Western tourists.

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