More than 10 people killed in hotel attack in Somalia-Xinhua

More than 10 people killed in hotel attack in Somalia

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2022-08-20 17:56:30

MOGADISHU, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- More than ten people were killed and several others wounded after al-Shabab militants stormed a hotel in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, Friday evening, the police and witnesses confirmed Saturday.

A police officer who declined to be identified told Xinhua that the extremists armed with rocket-propelled grenades detonated two explosives outside Hayat Hotel before storming inside the building and engaged the security forces in an hours-long siege which ended at around 11 a.m., local time, Saturday.

Witnesses said the first car bomb rammed into the perimeter wall of the hotel, causing a huge explosion followed by extensive gunfire exchanged between the attackers and hotel security. "A second car bomb was heard a few meters away from the corridor of the hotel, shortly after the first bomb was detonated," an eyewitness told Xinhua on the phone.

A special police unit later came in and rescued several guests including businessmen and staff from the popular hotel frequented by government and lawmakers. The police officer told Xinhua that the security forces managed to neutralize the militants who were holed up inside a room on the top floor of the hotel. More than ten people have been confirmed dead and several others wounded, according to him.

The government has not released official figures on the number of casualties and it was not clear how many al-Shabab fighters participated in the attack.

The police officer said two security officials, including the Mogadishu intelligence chief, were among those wounded in the hotel attack. He said the government forces have ended the hours-long siege by regaining control of the Hayat Hotel after reaching the top floor from where al-Shabab gunmen were firing during the night.

"The death toll is likely to rise since hospitals were still receiving victims of the attack and most of the casualties are in critical condition," the police officer added.

Al-Shabab, which has been fighting to topple the Somali government, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying its fighters managed to take over the hotel after storming their way into the building.

Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Aamin Ambulance Service, said the wounded have been rushed to the hospitals in Mogadishu as rescue efforts were underway amid a standoff between the security forces and the attackers whose number could not be established.

The deadly attack, the first since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected in May, caused total turmoil in the capital of Somalia with many worried about the rampant spread of insecurity in recent months.

The attacks continue across Somalia despite the security forces backed by allied forces having stepped up operations against the militants in the country. The militants have been targeting military bases, hotels and other public places in Somalia.