Somalia: Al-Shabab hotel attack kills ten in capital

Somalia: Al-Shabab hotel attack kills ten in capital
Video: Somalia's Islamic militant rebels, al-Shabab, stormed a hotel in the capital on Wednesday evening, killing at least ten people and taking a number of hostages.
2 min read
02 June, 2016

Somalia attack

An attack on a Mogadishu hotel by militant gunmen has ended with at least ten dead, Somalia's security minister has said.

Somali security forces had been battling the al-Shabab fighters holed up inside the building since Wednesday evening when the assault began with a car bomb that tore off the front of the six-storey Ambassador Hotel.

"All the gunmen were killed by the security forces," said security minister Abdirizak Omar Mohammad.

"More than ten people are so far confirmed dead and many others are wounded," he told reporters, adding that rescuers were searching the damaged building for survivors and dead bodies.

The bodies of three suspected attackers were displayed in the dirt outside the hotel.

The African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] which protects the government and fights the al-Shabab said two members of parliament were among the dead.

      Fourty people were also injured in the attack [Getty]

The attack began on Wednesday evening with a large car bomb followed by al-Shabab fighters storming the upmarket hotel, popular with government officials and wealthy Somalis.

Medical and security sources said around 40 people were also injured in the attack that left burning cars and debris scattered across the capital's main Maka al-Mukarama street.

Gunfire continued throughout the night and could still be heard early on Thursday, more than 13 hours after the attack began.

The al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda aligned extremist group, was forced out of the capital in 2011 but continues its battle to overthrow the internationally-backed government and launches regular attacks on military, government and civilian targets in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

The group claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack soon after it began.

Also on Wednesday, Somali Special Forces claimed to have killed Mohammad Mohamud Ali also known as Dulyadin and Kuno, the suspected organiser of an attack on a university in Garissa, Kenya, in April 2015 that killed 148 people, mostly students.

The US also said it had killed a senior al-Shabab planner, Abdullahi Haji Daud, in a drone strike.

The attack underlines the challenges facing the Somali government and African Union forces that are struggling to secure the seaside capital, which has seen a series of attacks by al-Shabab.

An attack on another Mogadishu hotel and public garden in February killed at least nine civilians. A car bomb exploded outside a restaurant in the capital in April, killing at least five.

Agencies contributed to this report