Heavily-armed gunmen have fought their way into a hotel in Somalia’s capital following a car bomb attack on the entrance to the building, police say, adding that 15 people have been killed.
An assailant rammed his truck into the gate of Dayah Hotel in Mogadishu while dozens of people, including Somali lawmakers and politicians, were believed to be staying there on Wednesday, according to police officer Mohamed Hussein.
Gunmen then stormed the hotel. Heavy gunfire and a second explosion were heard later.
Hours after the attack, security forces managed to rescue the people inside the hotel and secure the building, said police officer Abdiqadir Hussein.
“We have rescued the people and concluded the operation at Dayah Hotel. The security forces are now inside the hotel and we shall give further details of casualties later,” he added.
Security Minister Abdirizak Umar said, “The preliminary casualty figure is 15 people dead, including four security forces and 11 civilians; 51 others were wounded in the two blasts at the hotel.”
According to medics, some of the injured were in serious condition.
The explosions also left several cars and building destroyed in the area.
The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack, a radio close to the group said.
Al-Shabab has been carrying out acts of terror in Somalia over the past decade in an attempt to topple the government.
The joint forces of the government and the African Union have managed to push the terrorists out of large parts of southern and central Somalia, but they still manage to carry out attacks across the country.
By Africafrique and agencies