Extremists kill 23 in Somalia hotel siege
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somali security forces have ended a nightlong siege by at a Mogadishu hotel by five extremist attackers who stormed the building after a suicide car bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the entrance gate on Saturday afternoon. The attack killed 23 people.
Troops regained control of the Nasa-Hablod hotel on Sunday morning, having killed three attackers and captured two alive, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein.
Al-Shabab, Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group, quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.
The assault started Saturday afternoon when a suicide truck bomb exploded outside the popular hotel in the capital. The blast twisted vehicles and caused massive damage to nearby buildings which were left with only their walls standing.
The attackers invaded the hotel and gunfire continued as security forces fought them inside the building. Two more blasts were heard, one when an attacker detonated a suicide vest.
Saturday’s attack came two weeks after more than 350 people were killed in a massive truck bombing on a busy Mogadishu street in Somalia’s worst-ever attack.
The government’s Minister of Electricity & Water Salim Aliyow Ibrow was rescued from the hotel as heavy gunfire continued in the shoot-out. Some extremists hurled grenades and cut off the building’s electricity as night fell.
Among the dead were a mother and three children, including a baby, all shot in the head, Hussein said. Other victims included a senior Somali police colonel, a former lawmaker and a former government minister.
Saturday’s bomber had pretended his truck had broken down outside the gate, said police Col. Mohamed Abdullahi.