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MOSCOW, November 21. /TASS/. Six airline crew members rescued in a special operation in Mali’s capital Bamako are staying on board a plane at the heavily guarded airport, the Russian Volga-Dnepr airline posted the information on its website on Saturday.
The militants attacked the Radisson Blue hotel in Mali’s Bamako where the airline employees were resting between the flights, it said. On Thursday, a Volga-Dnepr aircraft landed at Bamako’s airport delivering construction machinery from Norway’s Oslo.
"After the flight, 12 airline employees were having a pre-flight rest at the Radisson Blue hotel which was attacked by militants at 7.00 a.m. local time on November 20," the company said. "After special forces stormed the hotel, six crew were released and are now staying on board a plane at the heavily guarded airport."
"On November 21, identification procedures were carried out with assistance of the Russian embassy to Mali and the deaths of six crew members of the Volga-Dnepr airline were confirmed," it said. "A chartered flight of a Boeing 737 is being arranged to transport the bodies to Russia."
The air carrier has got in touch with the Russian and French embassies in Mali, it said. Besides, the company offered condolences to the victims’ families and friends and declared mourning for the company.
Earlier on Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the deaths of six Russian nationals in the terror attack in Mali. All the victims are residents of the Russian Ulyanovsk region located in the mid-Volga area, some 880 kilometres (547 miles) southeast of Moscow.
On Friday, extremists attacked the Radisson hotel in the capital of Bamako taking hostage 170 people - 140 guests and 30 employees of the hotel. Special units of the armed forces of Mali, with the support of the French security services began to assault the building and pushed the attacking troops to the upper floors, where an intense battle continued. At that time, the armed forces with the assistance from dozens of US militaries withdrew hostages from the hotel. The Al-Mourabitoun group claimed responsibility for the attack.