Somalia: Al-Shabab Claims Bombing of Mogadishu Hotel

Jan 26, 2017, 00:31
Somalia: Al-Shabab Claims Bombing of Mogadishu Hotel

At least 13 people have been killed after militants set off a auto bomb at the gate of a hotel in Somalia and stormed inside.

In December, al-Shabaab killed about 30 people in Mogadishu when a suicide bomber in a bus detonated explosives next to the city's port and police complex.

Four al-Shabab attackers were also killed in the attack on Dayah hotel, which is often frequented by government officials, said Col. Mohamoud Abdi, a senior Somali police officer.

Police spokesman Ibrahim Mohammed said the gunmen stormed the hotel as civilians and rescue workers carried away people who were injured in the blasts.

"Security forces have shot and killed all attackers before reaching inside, and evacuated all hotel guests, including members of the Parliament and civilians trapped during the siege", he added.

The attackers stormed the hotel after the vehicle bomb exploded and exchanged fire with security guards.

Responsibility for the attack was claimed by al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda's Somali affiliate, which has struck at several hotels in the country's war-scarred capital in recent months.

Video by The Associated Press captured frenzied scenes of people fleeing as one of two bombs exploded at the Dayah Hotel.

Somalia's Andalus radio station, which has ties to al-Shabab, reported that "well-armed mujahideen [fighters]" were fighting inside the hotel, according to Reuters.

A nearby shopping center caught fire and dozens of people helped save goods in the business premises. At least 28 people were killed in the attack, Reuters reported.

The powerful explosions shattered dozens of windows and damaged cars parked near the hotel, witnesses said. That blast occurred a few hundred meters (yards) from the main base of the African Union peacekeeping mission.

Rival clan leaders and extremist groups such as the al-Shabaab took advantage of the power vacuum, growing in size and strength.