Somali hotel siege ended, at least 20 people killed
MOGADISHU, Somalia – At least 20 people have been killed and 45 others wounded when heavily armed militants stormed into an upscale beachfront hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Sunday’s attack with a suicide car bomb targeting hotel’s gate, then armed militants fought on their way to inside Elite hotel in Mogadishu, a witness, who asked to be anonymous, said.
He says the gunmen started randomly shooting at everyone inside the hotel building.
He added at least 20 people were killed in the attack, while saying 45 others injured, some seriously.
Somali government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar says the special forces had ended a four-hour seige of the hotel.
Mukhtar puts the death toll from the hotel siege at 16 people while saying 18 others were also wounded.
He says the hotel attack was carried out by five armed attackers, who were also killed during the operation.
At least 205 people trapped inside the building were rescued, says an officer leading the rescue operation.
Sunday’s attack was immediately claimed by al Shabaab, an al Qaeda linked group based in Somalia.
The group has scaled up its attacks in the capital.
The militant group also carried out suicide attack on military base in Mogadishu last week, with at least nine soldiers were killed.
The extremit group was ousted out of Mogadishu 2011 by Somali army and African Union forces following joint military operations.
The insurgents lost key towns in south and central regions, but it still holds large swaths in rural areas in Somalia.