Somalia’s al Shabaab group launched a suicide bomb attack on a hotel in the centre of Mogadishu on Saturday before fighters stormed inside, police and the militant group said.
Police said at least five people had died and 10 others were wounded. Gunfire echoed round the seaside city after the blast and ambulances raced to the scene.
“We attacked the hotel which was frequented by the apostate government members,” al Shabaab military operations spokesperson Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters, adding that the group’s fighters were inside the building.
Police said the attack on the Nasa-Hablod hotel began when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at its gate. Gunmen fought their way inside, and a witness said they began shooting randomly at hotel guests. Hussein said security forces killed two of the attackers.
It was not known how many attackers entered the hotel, nor how many guests were inside.
Yusuf Ali, an ambulance driver, told The Associated Press that he evacuated 11 people injured in the attack to hospitals. “Most of them were wounded in crossfire,” he said.
The Somalia-based al-Shabab has been waging a deadly insurgency across large parts of Somalia and often employs suicide car bomb attacks to penetrate heavily fortified targets in Mogadishu and elsewhere.
In early June, an overnight siege by extremist gunmen at another hotel in the capital killed least 15 people, including two members of parliament. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for that attack