The terrorists behind Friday’s assault on a hotel in Mali were actively hunting for an Air France crew who were staying there, security guards who witnessed the attack have claimed.

Kasim Haidara, who was on duty when the gunmen stormed the Radisson hotel in Bamako, told The Telegraph that they confronted a colleague and demanded to know which floor the Air France crew were staying on.

The fellow guard deliberately directed them to the wrong floor, Mr Haidara said, for which he was later shot dead by the terrorists.

Mr Haidara’s account would suggest that the group, who killed 19 people, was prioritising French citizens because of the country’s two-year long military campaign against Islamists in northern Mali. It might also explain the Air France’s decision to suspend its twice daily flights from Paris to Bamako shortly afterwards.

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