The police reported that the Somali security forces have stormed a hotel in the capital to end a near day-long siege by al-Shabab fighters who killed nine people at the building near the president’s residence in the capital.
Gunfire crackled from inside the hotel on Monday as the special forces fought the rebels more than 12 hours after the armed group stormed the building in the centre of Mogadishu.
A police spokesperson said 60 civilians had been rescued, while a government minister said he and others had kicked down a door to escape after being caught in the hotel following evening prayers when a suicide bomber struck and the gun battle broke out.
The assault underscores the continuing ability of the al-Qaeda-allied group to stage deadly attacks with sometimes high casualties inside the city even as President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s government presses an offensive against them.
“The operation at the hotel Rose has been concluded,” Sadik Aden Ali, the police spokesperson said, referring to the Villa Rose hotel where the siege occurred.
Ali said the rebels had killed eight civilians and later added that one soldier had also died in the siege. Five soldiers were injured, he said.
Six al-Shabab fighters had been involved in the attack, with one blowing himself up and five shot dead by the security forces, Ali said.
Al-Shabab, which controls swathes of the country, claimed responsibility for the attack, revealing in a statement that it was targeting the nearby presidential palace.