Mogadishu hotel rocked by explosion and gun battle

Mogadishu hotel rocked by explosion and gun battle
At least 7 killed and 10 wounded after a hostage situation and gun battles in the Somali capital.
2 min read
25 June, 2016
Al-Shabab continues to carry out attacks against government forces and civilians [Getty]
A suicide bomber and gunmen from the radical Islamic group Al-Shabab stormed a hotel in Mogadishu, where they held an unknown number of guests and staff hostage.

According to Reuters, police said that at least seven people died and 10 others were wounded. 

This followed a huge blast in the Somali capital on Saturday afternoon by a suicide bomber, after which the attackers entered the Hotel Naso Hablod.

According to witnesses, at least four bodies were seen outside the hotel as security forces exchanged fire with the hostage takers.

Following the initial car bomb that was detonated outside of the hotel, a second explosion was then heard inside the building.

Police official Mohamed Hussein told AP that the gunmen "took positions behind blast walls and sandbags".  

Militant group Al-Shabab have claimed responsibility, and this has been confirmed by police.

"We attacked the hotel which was frequented by the apostate government members," Al-Shabab military operations spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters.

The Shabab militant group was pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 but continues to carry out attacks on military, political and civilian targets aimed at undermining the internationally-backed Somali government.

In recent months they have claimed attacks on bases of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The United States has in recent years launched numerous drone strikes against Shabab leaders.