Al-Shabaab Hotel Attack Kills At Least 15
An Al-Shabaab hotel attack in Somalia has killed at least 15 people in the capital, Mogadishu.
Among the victims was one MP and the general who led the country’s 2011 offensive to drive the militant group out of Mogadishu. The Somali army and African Union troops battled against the militant group, killing each of the attackers before they regained control of the hotel.
AU and Somali troops regain control
Somali police confirmed the attackers had all been killed in the gun fight and hailed the courage shown by some of the guests who were staying at the hotel.
“Had it not been for the courage of some of the hotel residents who fought back the terrorists, the death toll could have been a lot higher than it is now,” said senior officer Capt. Mohamed Hussein, in an interview with The Standard Press.
The attack came at Daybreak on Sunday morning when the first suicide car bomb detonated at the hotel’s entrance. Gunmen then infiltrated the building, with one group killing residents in their rooms while another fought off government troops on the hotel’s rooftop.
A second car bomb exploded outside the hotel, killing one journalist and injuring another. The hotel owner was among those killed in the hotel siege.
A bid to avoid civilian casualties
The Al-Shabaab quickly claimed responsibility for the attack on a website associated with the group. Interestingly, the claim also stated that the attack was carried out in the early morning to avoid civilian casualties – an uncharacteristic move, if true.
Attacks have previously been carried out during the day, including multiple casualties to civilians. However, Sunday’s attack was targeted at a hotel popular with members of parliament, government figures and businessmen.
The attack came one day after AU forces were caught up in a deadly clash against militant fighters in Somalia’s Bakool region, near the border with Ethiopia.