HOSTAGES IN MALI. U.S. military and French commando units are responding to a hostage crisis in Bamako, the capital of Mali, where gunmen are holding people in a Radisson hotel.

The Washington Post reports that the hotel was hosting several U.N. envoys involved in peacekeeping efforts in Mali. The country has been the site of several attacks by al-Qaeda and its affiliates, and France, in particular, has been leading the pushback against the insurgents. An Associated Press report cites a commander in the Malian army saying the gunmen shouted “God is great” in Arabic as they stormed the hotel and took hostages. Check back with The Washington Post as the story develops.

INVESTIGATING CENTCOM. Foreign Policy reports that Congress is launching an investigation into Centcom, to determine if officials there cooked the books on Afghanistan intel as they were accused of doing in their fight against the Islamic State. The heads of the House Intelligence, Armed Services and Defense Appropriations will lead the venture, which commences while the Defense Department’s Inspector General is still completing its investigation.

POLLARD RELEASED. Jonathan Pollard, the U.S. Navy analyst who spied for Israel, was released from prison on Friday, and will take up residence in New York, The Washington Post reports.

His release became a political football in various rounds of negotiations with Israel, including at least one episode when Israel tried to leverage peace talks with the Palestinians on his release. Israel granted Pollard citizenship while he was in prison for espionage before actually admitting he had spied for the country. Pollard reportedly wants to renounce his American citizenship and head to Israel, but part of the terms of his parole is that he not leave the United States for five years.