The al-Shabaab Takfiri militant group has reportedly seized control of a popular hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu during a gun and bombing attack.
The attack started on Friday with an explosion targeting the vicinity of the hotel, Reuters reported. Another explosion and a hail of gunfire followed. "Two car bombs targeted Hotel Hayat. One hit a barrier near the hotel and then the other hit the gate of the hotel. We believe the fighters are inside the hotel," a police officer, who identified himself only as Ahmed, told the news agency.
At least nine people were wounded in the attack, said Abdikadir Abdirahman, director and founder of Mogadishu's Aamin ambulance services.
A firefight is reportedly underway between the security forces and attackers, who are holed up inside the hotel, security official Abdukadir Hassan told AFP.
Al-Shabaab, which has been fighting the country’s government for more than a decade, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Somali police spokesman Abdifatah Adan Hassan alleged that the attackers “will be neutralized very soon."
An African Union force pushed the militants out of the capital in 2011. The group, however, still controls swathes of countryside, and takes random spots across the country under sporadic attacks from time to time.
Back in May, at least three civilians were killed and a number of others wounded after the group raided a military camp belonging to an African Union mission in central Somalia.
In August 2020, it said it was behind an attack on another hotel in Mogadishu, in which at least 16 people were killed.
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