U.N. peacekeepers said they found 27 bodies so far at the Mali hotel where an al Qaeda-affiliated group took 170 hostages. Local television is reporting the hostage seige is over, Reuters reported.

They were killed when Islamic jihadist gunmen attacked a Radisson Hotel in Mali's capital city of Bamako on Friday and took at least 170 people hostage.

With the recovery of 27 bodies from the Radisson Blu hotel, Mali's security minister claimed that the gunmen were 'no longer holding any hostages'.

A Belgian working for the Wallonia-Brussels regional parliament died during an attack and hostage-taking at a luxury hotel in Bamako, Mali, the parliament said on Friday.

The parliament on its website named the official as Geoffrey Dieudonne, who had been attending a convention in Mali for three days. It said it did not have further details about his death.

80 people had been freed by Malian commandos, Reuters reported earlier.

The former French colony has been battling rebels allied to al Qaeda for several years.

The Islamist gunmen, who are reported to be affiliated to Al Quaeda, shouted 'Allahu Akbar' as they opened fire, said reports.

Two attackers were involved in storming of hotel in Mali capital killed. Wounded civilians are being evacuated, according to security sources

The Indian Ministry for External Affairs has said that 20 Indians who were in the hotel are safe.

"The Indians worked for a Dubai-based company and were residing in the hotel permanently," the ministry said in a statement, according to the Press Trust of India. 

Chinese media Xinhua has reported that 10 nationals from China were at the hotel. 

12 Air France crew were also at the hotel, but were extricated safely.

A Turkish official said three of six Turkish Airlines staff who had been in the hotel had managed to flee.

The 190-room Radisson hotel was reportedly almost fully booked.

The gunmen reportedly freed about 20 hostages, whose lives were spared because they could recite verses from the Quran. 

The Ansar al-Din militant group is said to behind the latest attack in Mali. 

Earlier this year, a terrorist attack on a hotel in central Mali left at least eight people dead.

The US Embassy in Bamako tweeted - "The Embassy is aware of an ongoing active shooter operation at the Radisson Hotel. The U.S. Embassy staff has been asked to shelter in place. All U.S. citizens should shelter in place. Private U.S. citizens are encouraged to contact their families."

A senior security source said the gunmen had burst into Radisson Blu hotel at 7 a.m. (0700 GMT), firing and shouting "Allahu Akbar", or "God is great" in Arabic, and begun working their way through the building, room by room and floor by floor. The then holed up in the seventh floor and resorted to gunfire, sources said.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita cut short a trip to a regional summit in Chad to return to Bamako, his office said. French President Francois Hollande said France would "use all the means available to us on the ground to free the hostages", according to Reuters.