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Death toll rises to minimum of 16 after horror Ivory Coast gun attack

Crime WorldBy Sunday World
A body lies on the Ivory Coast beach after the attack
A body lies on the Ivory Coast beach after the attack

At least 16 people have died after men armed with Kalashnikovs stormed an Ivory Coast beach resort.

The Ivory Coast's president Alassane Ouattara said 14 civilians and two special forces operatives, as well as six attackers, were killed in the attack on three hotels in Grand-Bassam, a popular weekend destination for both Ivorian nationals and foreigners.

The beach setting of the incident - about 25 miles east of Ivory Coast's economic centre Abidjan - bears a resemblance to the attack in the Tunisian resort of Sousse last June in which 38 tourists were killed.

Meanwhile, officials said a car bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara killed more than 30 people and wounded around 75 others.

Ivorian footballers led tributes to the beach attack victims.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure wrote on his Facebook page in both French and English.

He said: "It is with a heavy heart that I learnt of the tragedy that befell my country on Sunday afternoon. I am saying prayers for all the mourning families and offer comfort and support to the Ivorian population.

"Equally, the president of the republic who made the effort to manage the situation for the tranquillity and peace in the Ivory Coast. May God watch over the Ivory Coast."

Bournemouth footballer Max Gradel tweeted: "May God protect my lovely country in this hard moment Cote D'ivoire".

The historic town of Grand-Bassam is a Unesco World Heritage site.

Foreign Office travel advice for the country warns against all but essential travel to certain parts of the country.

It says: "There is a high threat from terrorism. You should be vigilant after recent attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners."

For Grand-Bassam, the website says people should check travel advice before travelling.

The advice was updated on 9 February and was still said to be current on 13 March.

A group that monitors jihadist websites said al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the attack in Ivory Coast.

Witness Marcel Guy saw at least four gunmen with Kalashnikov rifles on the beach. He said one approached two children, and spoke in Arabic.

One child knelt and prayed, but the other was shot dead.