Mogadishu, Aug 17: At least 17 people have been killed and more than 28 wounded in a gun and bomb attack by the al-Shabab armed group on an upscale beachfront hotel in Somalia’s capital, officials and witnesses have said. All four assailants were killed by security forces. It was not clear how Somali security forces managed to end the siege on the hotel and kill the assailants, who at one point were said to have taken hostages.
The hotel’s siege on Sunday ended after a three-hour fierce gun battle between al-Shabab fighters and security forces which began with a suicide car bombing, government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar Omar told. Among the 12 victims were two government employees, three hotel security guards, four civilians and three unidentified people.
The attack started in the afternoon with a powerful car bomb blast which blew off the security gates to the hotel. Then, gunmen ran inside and took hostages, mostly young men and women who were dining there’
Most guests of the four-storey seaside hotel could be rescued, but 28 wounded people were taken to hospitals, according to local ambulance services head Abdulkadir Abdirahman Adan.
Witnesses confirmed the attack began with a heavy explosion and reported that people were running from the area as gunfire could be heard from the hotel, which is frequented by government officials, journalists and civil society activists.