Islamist extremists armed with AK-47 rifles and grenades stormed a hotel packed with foreigners Friday in the former French colony of Mali, killing 20 people and briefly taking scores more hostage.
One American is confirmed dead in the attack, a State Department official said.
Nineteen civilians and one member of the Malian security services were killed during the siege, United Nations spokesman Olivier Salgado told NBC News. Three jihadi attackers were also dead, the spokesman said.
But as Malian special forces and police searched the 190 rooms and suites at the Radisson Blu hotel for more bodies, officials warned the death toll could rise.
By 1 p.m. ET, the bloody siege in the capital of Bamako appeared to be over, a hotel receptionist manning the front desk told NBC News.
About a dozen Americans were among those rescued and there are no reports that any U.S. citizens were killed or injured, State Department spokesman John Kirby said. It was unclear how many Americans were at the sprawling pink and cream colored hotel when the attack occurred, Kirby said.
"The United States condemns in the strongest terms today's terrorist attack on the many Malian and international guests and employees of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako," the White House said in a statement. "We can confirm that the attack has ended, and we continue to coordinate with U.S officials on the ground to verify the location of all American citizens in Mali."
An al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group claimed credit for the attack, Reuters reported. NBC News could not immediately confirm that.
The mayhem in Mali came just days after the Iyad Ag Ghaly, the leader of the al Qaeda linked militant group Ansar Dine, called for attacks on France and its interests in the African country.