At least 17 people have been killed and more than a dozen 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.
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 the dpa news agency.
Among the 12 victims were two government employees, three hotel security guards, four civilians and three unidentified people, police officer Ahmed Bashane was quoted as saying by the dpa.
Mukhtar told the Associated Press that all four assailants were killed by security forces.
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, he said.
Ambulance sirens could be heard in the area which had a power outage when the attack started.
Military vehicles were later seen taking position around the hotel in the night, with officials initially concerned the darkness would prolong the siege.