Gunmen stormed a hotel near the presidential palace in the Somali capital Mogadishu, killing at least ten people. Among them were two people with dual Somali and British citizenship, Mohamed Dahir of the Somali police said. The siege of the hotel was still ongoing late Sunday night.
Among those injured is Somali Security Minister Ahmed Mohamed Doodishe. The hotel is popular with politicians. The terrorist militia al-Shabaab, which has ties to al-Qaeda, spoke about fighting in the hotel on its propaganda radio program.
100 members killed in military action
The attack in Mogadishu came two days after a large-scale military operation by Somali government forces in central Somalia that killed 100 al-Shabaab members, government sources said.
Somalia, a country in the Horn of Africa with about 16 million inhabitants, has been shaken by attacks and violence for years. The government in Mogadishu has been conducting a military offensive against Al-Shabaab for several months now.
Government officials escaped through a window
“We were startled by a huge explosion, followed by heavy gunfire,” said resident Ahmed Abdullahi. “We just got in the house and we hear the shots.” Two police officers told Reuters news agency that the attackers had stormed the Villa Rose Hotel. It is unclear how many there are. Some government officials escaped through windows and were then taken to safety.
Wants to set up an Islamist regime
The Islamists killed at least 120 people in two car bomb attacks on the education ministry in Mogadishu last month. The attack is one in a series of attacks and fighting that has shaken Somalia for years. In 1991, several militias joined forces to overthrow dictator Siad Barre, but then fought each other. Al-Shabaab is fighting the government, which is supported by soldiers from the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU), and wants to establish an Islamist regime.
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