Thursday, June 2, 2016

20 Killed In Hotel Seige In Somali Capital

MOGADISHU, June 2 (BERNAMA-NNN-Agencies) -- A siege by Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab at a popular hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu ended Thursday with 20 people slain, security officials said.

Among the dead were two parliamentarians and two security guards. More than 60 people were wounded, according to security and hospital officials.

A suicide car bomber hit the entrance of the Ambassador Hotel, which is popular with government officials and business people, shortly before 1500 GMT on Wednesday in the centre of the Somali capital.

The blast destroyed the guarded entrance of the building and damaged several nearby shops, witnesses said.

Armed al-Shabaab fighters then stormed the building, laying siege to the five-storey hotel, security official Mohamed Hassan said.

Somali security forces surrounded the hotel and sealed off the area. Several other, smaller explosions followed throughout the night, as well as sustained exchange of gunfire.

In the early hours of Thursday, security forces killed three gunmen who had been hiding inside the hotel, the Somali National News Agency reported, ending the siege more than 10 hours after it begun.

President Hassan Sheikh condemned the "brutal terrorist act" on Thursday in a statement.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack shortly after the first bombing in comments made by the militia's spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, to pro-insurgent radio Andalus.

The group, which is seeking an Islamist state in Somalia and is affiliated with the international al-Qaeda terrorist network, has attacked government facilities and hotels in Mogadishu on a regular basis.

In February, al-Shabaab killed 22 people and wounded more than 30 in an attack at a hotel in Mogadishu.