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Goethe-Institut Director Killed in Ivory Coast Terrorist Attack

Jenny Stanton, Tom Wyke, and Allan Hall report in the Daily Mail that Henrike Grohs, the director of the Goethe-Institut in the Ivory Coast, was among between eighteen and twenty-two people killed in an Al Qaeda terrorist attack yesterday near the capital of Abidjan in the historic town of Grand Bassam. Grohs was head of the branch of the Goethe-Institut there since December 2013, and previously worked as a culture and development consultant at the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg. Trained as an ethnologist, she was also prior to her work with the Goethe-Institut the project manager of a program with the Berlin Philharmonic between 2002 and 2009. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, the president of the Goethe-Institut, said in a statement: “It is terrible that a woman who campaigned for a meaningful life with all her strength had to die so senselessly.”

Fifteen of the people killed in the attack on a beach were civilians and three were special forces soldiers, according to Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara. The armed and balaclava-clad shooters shouted “Allah Akbar” before they opened fired on guests at the L’Etoile du Sud (Southern Star) hotel. The group Al Qaeda in the Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the attack via one of their social media accounts, though this has yet to be independently verified.The terrorists were reportedly targeting a US delegation led by assistant secretary of commerce Marcus Jadotte. The American embassy in Abidjan, which has been monitoring the situation, said there was no evidence that US citizens were being targeted.