NJ native Anita Datar killed in hostage attack in Mali

A woman with ties to New Jersey is among the victims killed in an attack on a hotel in Mali.

At least 20 people were killed when Islamic extremists took hostages at a Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako Friday.

The State Department has not released the woman's name, but her family has identified her as Anita Datar.

The 41-year-old grew up in Morris County. She was the 1991 valedictorian of Mount Olive High School in Flanders, and also went to Rutgers University. Datar reportedly resided in Maryland with her family.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Datar dedicated her life to helping others and worked on projects involving family planning and HIV. She also served in the Peace Corps in Senegal. Datar was in Mali to promote global public health.

The family has released a statement that says, "We are devastated that Anita is gone - it's been unbelievable to us that she has been killed in this senseless act of violence and terrorism. Anita was one of the kindest, most generous people we know. She loved her family and her work tremendously. Everything she did in her life was done to help others - as a mother, public health expert, daughter, sister and friend. And while we are angry and saddened that she was been killed, we know that she would want to promote education and healthcare to prevent violence and poverty at home and aboard, not intolerance."

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