At least 12 dead in Somalia hotel siege, intelligence officer says
At least 12 people have been killed in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu after al-Qaeda-linked militants raided a hotel, taking over a siege that authorities are still working to end, the report told Saturday. Reuters an intelligence officer.
The attackers made their way into the Hayat hotel on Friday evening with two car bombs before opening fire.
Somali Al Shabaab insurgents have claimed responsibility.
“So far we have confirmed the deaths of 12 people, mostly civilians,” Mohammed, an intelligence officer who gave only one name, told Reuters.
“The transaction is close to completion but is still ongoing.”
The detonations sent huge plumes of smoke over the busy junction on Friday evening, and the sound of gunfire still crackled through the capital at 0700 GMT on Saturday.
Sounds of explosions punctuated the night as government forces attempted to regain control of the hotel from militants, witnesses said.
Large parts of the hotel were destroyed by the fighting, they said.
Friday’s attack was the first major attack since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in May.
The al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a translation by SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors the group’s statements.
Al Shabaab has been fighting for more than 10 years to overthrow the Somali government. He wants to establish his own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
The Hayat Hotel is a popular venue with legislators and other government officials.
There was no immediate information as to whether any of them had been caught in the siege.