Somalia: Al Shabaab militants launch two attacks at Mogadishu hotels

Published: July 10, 2015

Somalia: Al Shabaab militants launch two attacks in Mogadishu hotelsFighters from the Somali militant group al-Shabaab have stormed two hotels in the capital, Mogadishu on Friday evening, leaving several people dead, officials say.
According to witnesses, at least four fighters armed with assault rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade attacked Hotel Wehelie, which is situated in the popular strategic road of Makka al-Mukarama. It was timed to happen just after sunset and at the same time that many people were in the hotels to break the fast.
Somalia security forces quickly reached the scene and battled the fighters for almost two hours. Security officials have told local media outlets that four of the attackers have been shot dead.
Al-Shabab officials claimed responsibility for the attack. The group had carried out similar attacks in hotels located in the same busy area.
So far, at least four civilians have been confirmed dead and several others injured.
In another attack, a blast was heard in hotel Siyaad which is closely located to the Presidential palace. The casualties are still unknown.
With the onset of Ramadan, the Muslim religious holiday of fasting and prayer, al-Shabaab insurgents have historically increased the number of attacks against African Union and Somalia Security Forces. But this is the most audacious attack carried out by the militants since Ramadan started.
Ramadan carries extra religious significance for the al-Shabaab, which claims that jihad provides more rewards during the period of religious observance considered one of the five pillars of Islam.
Somalia’s Federal government stepped up security in and around the Somali capital in the run-up to the holy month of Ramadan, but the militants have continued to carry out their bloody campaign.
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