26 January 2017

Somalia: Al-Shabab attack at Mogadishu hotel ‘kills 13’


At least 13 people have been killed in a coordinated gun-and-bomb attack carried out by al-Shabab at a popular hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, according to police.

The assault on Wednesday morning began when attackers rammed an explosives-packed car into the gate of Dayah Hotel, which is near Somalia’s parliament in central Mogadishu, and then stormed inside exchanging fire with security guards.


The blast at the gate of the hotel was followed by a second delayed explosion [Abdirizak Mohamud Tuuryare/Al Jazeera]

A second massive car bomb blast went off after ambulances and journalists had arrived at the scene, leaving at least four reporters wounded, according to AFP news agency.

“At least 13 people, including forces and civilians, died in two blasts at the hotel. A dozen others were injured,” Major Mohamed Ahmed, a police officer, told Reuters news agency, adding that the death toll could rise.

Later on Wednesday, Colonel Abdiqadir Hussein told Reuters that security forces had entered the hotel and managed to secure the building.


Somali government soldiers secure the scene after the attack at Dayah Hotel [Feisal Omar/Reuters]

Witnesses said the powerful explosions caused extensive damage in the area near the hotel, shattering dozens of windows and damaging parked cars.

“All the neighbouring houses have been destroyed,” Yusuf Hassan, editor of Somali newspaper Haqiqa Times, told Al Jazeera from the scene.

“I see people crying because they have lost their relatives,” he added.

“It is really a big tragedy.”

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a report by Andalus radio, which is linked to the armed group.

“Well-armed mujahideen [fighters] attacked the hotel and now they are fighting inside the hotel,” the report said.

Dozens of people, including members of Somalia’s parliament, were thought to have been in the hotel at the time of the attack, Captain Mohamed Hussein told The Associated Press news agency.

The hotel is popular with politicians, government officials and entrepreneurs.

Al-Shabab has carried out a series of deadly attacks in Somalia to try to topple the country’s western-backed government.


Al Jazeera and news agencies

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