At least 11 were killed and 50 injured
Wednesday as Somali security forces ended a siege by extremist
fighters who stormed a hotel in the capital, police said.
Four al-Shabab attackers were also killed in the attack on Dayah
hotel, which is often frequented by government officials, said Capt.
Mohamed Hussein, a senior police officer. The death toll may rise, he
said.
Survivors described chaotic scenes in which hotel residents hid under
beds and others jumped out of windows of the four-story building to
escape the attackers.
“They kicked down room doors and at some point posed themselves as
rescue teams by telling those inside to come out (only) to kill them,”
said Hassan Nur, a traditional Somali elder.
He said two well-known clan elders were among those killed.
The assault on the hotel started when a suicide car bomb exploded at
its gates. A second explosion soon followed.
Dozens of people, including lawmakers, were thought to have been
staying at the hotel at the time of the morning attack, said Capt.
Mohamed Hussein.
A nearby shopping center caught fire and dozens of people helped save
goods from the flames.
Somalia’s homegrown Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed
responsibility for the attack via its online radio, Andalus, saying
its fighters succeeded in entering the hotel.
Al-Shabab frequently targets hotels and other public places often
visited by government officials and foreigners. Al-Qaida’s East
African affiliate is fighting to impose a strict version of Islam in
this Horn of Africa nation.
In June, gunmen stormed the Nasa-Hablod hotel, killing at least 14
people. Two weeks before that, gunmen killed 15, including two members
of parliament, at the Ambassador hotel.
Despite being ousted from most of its key strongholds, al-Shabab
continues to carry out deadly guerrilla attacks across large parts of
south and central Somalia.
Earlier this month, a bomb explosion at a restaurant in Mogadishu
killed three, and a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden
vehicle at a security checkpoint near the international airport,
killing at least three. That blast occurred a few hundred meters
(yards) from the main base of the African Union peacekeeping mission.
Al-Shabab’s assaults have threatened this nation’s attempts to rebuild
from decades of chaos. The presidential election, a key step toward
recovery, already has been delayed several times because of security
and other concerns.

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