Somalia: Al Shabaab attack on Mogadishu hotel kills 14

Published: March 28, 2015

Somali News
At least 14 people were killed and 13 others injured when gunmen from the extremist group al-Shabaab launched a deadly assault on a Mogadishu popular hotel, a government official has confirmed.
The attack started after the gunmen pretending to be soldiers, wearing military uniforms detonated explosives-packed at the behind door of the hotel before carrying out the raid. That prompted a fierce battle between the militants and US-trained Somali Special Forces who arrived at the scene moments later.
Al-Qaeda-linked militant group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Saturday, authorities initially said that six gunmen were killed in the attack, and it took at least twelve hours for the security forces to regain back the control of the hotel after the militants went on hiding in the top floors.
”Eight civilians and four soldiers were killed in the attack, we managed to rescue 50 persons including officials, medical practitioners and civilians” said Ridwan Abdiweli, Somali government spokesman.
The late-evening raid on the Makka al-mukarama Hotel, largely used by returning Somali Diasporas and government officials, highlighted the militants’ ability to penetrate and conduct strikes in an area regarded as the most secure oasis in Mogadishu.
‘’ We are searching every room and there are people who are still trapped inside, with some of them severely injured,’’ a security official told local media.
Several people managed to escape from the attack by jumping through windows, while others were rescued by the Somali forces.
‘’ When they came in, they started shooting at everyone they saw and threw hand grenades towards crowded areas,’’ said one of the survivors who was injured.
Attending the Arab league summit in Cairo, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud condemned the attack but did not mention whether he will shorten or cancel his trip.
Diplomat killed
Among the people killed in attack is the Somalia’s ambassador to Switzerland Yusuf Ismael Bari-bari. The veteran diplomat was due to attack a conference expected to be held in the hotel on the same day.
A Somali-American woman, Farhia Nur, who returned last year to the country, died in the attack. She was working with the Ministry of Finance.
Makka al-mukarama is one of the popular and heavily guarded hotels in Mogadishu. Located in a strategic conjunction, it has been a high-profile target for al-Shabaab who claim it is one of the ‘’government bases’’.
Al-Shabaab have carried out numerous similar attack in the Somali capital, but the choice of a hotel as a target reflected an effort to show they can still penetrate heavily secured areas despite numerous AMISOM and Somali offensives against them in recent years.
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