At least 12 dead in Somalia hotel siege, intelligence officer says

At least 12 dead in Somalia hotel siege, intelligence officer says

MOGADISHU, Aug 20 (Portal) – At least 12 people were killed in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu after militants linked to al-Qaeda attacked a hotel and took control of a siege authorities are still fighting to end, a said Intelligence officer told Portal on Saturday.

The attackers blew themselves into the Hayat Hotel with two car bombs on Friday evening before opening fire. Somalia’s al-Shabaab insurgents have claimed responsibility. Continue reading

“So far we have confirmed that 12 people, mostly civilians, have died,” Mohammed, an intelligence officer who gave only one name, told Portal. “The operation is nearing completion, but it is still ongoing.”

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The detonations sent huge plumes of smoke across the busy intersection on Friday night and the sound of gunfire was still crackling over the capital at 0700 GMT on Saturday.

The sound of explosions punctuated the night as government troops attempted to wrest control of the hotel from militants, witnesses said.

Somali security officers are seen in a section of the Hotel Hayat, the scene of an al-Qaeda-linked militant attack by the al-Shabaab group in Mogadishu, Somalia August 20, 2022. Portal/Feisal Omar

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Large parts of the hotel had been destroyed by the fighting, it said.

Friday’s attack was the first major attack since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in May.

According to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, which oversees statements by the jihadist group, the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Al Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow the Somali government for more than 10 years. They want to set up their own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

The Hayat Hotel is a popular meeting place for lawmakers and other government officials. There was no immediate information as to whether any of them had been involved in the siege.

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Reporting by Abdi Sheikh Writing by Duncan Miriri Editing by Sam Holmes and Frances Kerry

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